No one in baseball history has ever been better at closing out games than Mariano Rivera. Armed with an unhittable cut fastball and incredible command, Rivera cemented himself as a legend in New York, spending his entire career as a Yankee and becoming the first active player ever enshrined in Monument Park. His farewell ceremony last September was one of the most memorable moments in recent baseball history, but retirement hasn’t taken Rivera out of the spotlight just yet.
In an excerpt from his new book, appropriately entitled “The Closer,” Rivera comments on the active crop of second basemen; most notably, his long-time teammate Robinson Cano and his counterpoint Dustin Pedroia, star of the hated rivals up in Boston. While one might expect Rivera to side with his teammate, or simply to side with any player wearing the vaunted pinstripes, Rivera instead espouses affection for his rival.
“If I have to win one game, I’d have a hard time taking anybody over Dustin Pedroia as my second baseman,” Rivera noted.
Rivera is certainly familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of both players, but on-field greatness doesn’t always equate to a tremendous ability to build a roster; just ask anyone who has ever cheered for a basketball team built by Michael Jordan. So, with all due respect for Rivera’s experience, let’s see what the numbers have to say about Cano and Pedroia.
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