Cashman to speak with Rivera

TAMPA, Fla. -- Mariano Rivera spoke softly, and the New York Yankees got the message.

A day after the All-Star closer said "if they don't give the respect that I deserve, I have to move on," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he intends to speak with Rivera -- but would not necessarily offer a contract extension beyond 2007.

Rivera seldom says anything controversial, and his remarks dominated the back pages -- and in one case, the front page -- of Tuesday's tabloids in New York.

"Mo knows how we feel about him. We care a great deal about him. He's been a great Yankee," Cashman said Tuesday. "Obviously there's a contract in place that we worked out a while before. Let me talk to him first. In theory I would always prefer to wait. Right now I want to concentrate on '07 and worry about '08 at another time. When that time will be, that would be between me and Mo."

Rivera and catcher Jorge Posada are entering the final seasons of their contracts and are eligible for free agency after the World Series. Rivera will earn $10.5 million this season, completing a deal that pays him $31.5 million over three years.

"The Yankees always give me the respect," Rivera said Monday. "When the time comes, if they want me back, they want me back. Otherwise, I'm not going to sit in my house crying. I have to move on."

Cashman said the one time he spoke with Rivera during the offseason, the 37-year-old didn't bring up his contract situation. Rivera's agent and Cashman did have one conversation about an extension.

"Every situation has a proper time and a proper place," Cashman said. "My preference is to wait throughout the year on everybody, if I possibly can. We have a lot of people up. I'm going to talk Mariano first, have a conversion with him to see where he's at."