Mariano Rivera can still throw heat, even in retirement.
The former Yankees closer and MLB all-time saves leader questions former teammate Robinson Cano's passion in a new autobiography -- and even says he'd pick rival Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia over Cano.
"If I have to win one game, I'd have a hard time taking anybody over Dustin Pedroia as my second baseman," Rivera says in "The Closer", excerpts of which were published in the Daily News on Tuesday. The book is co-written by Wayne Coffey.
Cano played with Rivera, who recorded a record 652 saves, for nine seasons in the Bronx, but departed for a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Mariners in December.
Cano developed into a consistent MVP candidate during his time with the Yankees, but the ease with which he was able to hit and field, led some to question his drive. Others opined that Cano didn't always run hard to first base.
Count Rivera among Cano's critics.
"This guy has so much talent I don't know where to start..." Rivera says. "There is no doubt that he is a Hall-of-Fame caliber (player). It's just a question of whether he finds the drive you need to get there. I don't think Robby burns to be the best... You don't see that red-hot passion in him that you see in most elite players."
Cano is a .309 hitter with a .355 on-base percentage and 205 home runs in 10 seasons. A two-time Gold Glove winner, he also has five All-Star selections and five Silver Sluggers. He's a .222 hitter during 11 postseason series and won a World Series in 2009. He's been worth 45.5 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball-Reference.
Pedroia is a .301 hitter with a .369 OBP and 100 home runs in nine seasons. A three-time Gold Glove winner, he also has four All-Star selections, won American League Rookie of the Year in 2007 and AL MVP in 2008. He's a .247 hitter in nine postseason series and won World Series in 2007 and 2013. He's been worth 39.4 WAR according to Baseball-Reference.