Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Still Concerned About David Robertson Closing?

Yesterday we learned that the reason Baltimore Orioles cancelled their agreed upon contract with Grant Balfour was because of knee and wrist issues found during his pre-signing physical. The problem was not, as previously thought, Balfour's shoulder. Last February Grant had surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus, so the idea that his knee was the problem was not far-fetched.

"Oh, it wasn't my knee this time?"

Some would like the Yankees to swoop in and sign Balfour for cheap, as I'm sure his chances for getting a nice multi-year deal are gone. But if the Athletics former closer is having health issues, then perhaps the Yankees should stay away.

Anyway, during the Grant Balfour talk, some people brought up their concerns when it comes to David Robertson being the new closer. Many others, and I count myself among them, felt that DRob will do a fine job. But I decided to take a quick look at a couple things that should make the non-believers feel better.

Before I do that, though, I have to remind some Yankees fans... there will not be another Mariano Rivera. At least there's nobody in Major League Baseball that currently looks like he could be the new most dominant closing pitcher in baseball history. To be fair, in his first three seasons with the Atlanta Braves, Craig Kimbrel has been amazing. Kimbrel's career ERA is 1.39, and he already has 139 saves. For reference, in his first three years as the Yankees' closer, Rivera's ERA was 1.87, and he'd saved 124 games. But keep this in mind... between 2009 and 2011, after having already spent 12 years in the Majors, Mariano Rivera's ERA was 1.82 and he saved 121 games. So Craig has a lot of work to do.

Whether it's David Robertson or Grant Balfour, or whether the Yankees signed Joe Nathan or Joaquin Benoit before the Tigers and Padres got to them, we Yankees fans are not going to see another Mo. As long as we get a good closer, then there's no reason we shouldn't be happy about it. And that brings us back to Mr. David Robertson.

"You're damn right it's 'Mr.' David Robertson."

Taking a look at David's career splits as his Baseball Reference page, Robertson has thrown 123.1 innings in save situations. Not only has he looked pretty darn good for the past six years, but his ERA in those save situations is 1.75. Going further, David's WHIP is 1.127. By the way, while Robertson has had issues with walks in his career, he's done a great job of fixing that the past two seasons. In his first four years his walk rate was 4.7 batters per nine innings, but in the past two years that number has gone down to 2.6 batters per nine innings.

One last thing about how Robertson has thrown the ball in save situations... opponents in that same situation have hit .201/.283/.301 against him. As for how batters did against Mariano in save situations, that triple-slash was .205/.251/.279.

I'm sure there are many reading this that still aren't convinced about Robertson, seeing as how the vast majority of Robertson's save situations occurred in the 8th inning, not the more pressure-filled final/9th inning. And on the surface that makes sense, because whether it's pinch-hitters or pinch-runners teams will do everything they can in that final inning, as it's their last chance to score runs and win the game. Well, let me remind you that opposing teams basically did treat the 8th inning as if it was their last chance to win the game. With Mariano Rivera looming for the 9th, outs 22-24 pretty much were their last chances to win. So David Robertson has gotten everything thrown at him.

Short of somehow acquiring Craig Kimbrel, I see no reason what-so-ever not to give David Robertson a shot at the closer's gig in 2014.


  1. NO, NOT ROBERTSON !....nice try, Daniel
    Convinced more today, re: Balfour, than ever.

    Like General Wm. Tecumseh Sherman, during his march to the sea....Grant Balfour will
    march us through the AL East.
    The Australian...'Ulysses S. Grant' Balfour...Should be the Yankee closer.
    Has anyone seen this guy's wife ? Balfour was talented enough to rope her in.
    In Oakland, he was known as the 'Ragin G'Nome'...check out his rage images on line !
    When he screams back to a bitter batter..."shut the f--- up, and sit down !"...he can
    back those words up.

    I don't pretend to be a numbers guy. I use my Irish bones. But, try these numbers, as
    in what the injured Balfour did with Oakland, in 2013.
    62.2...innings pitched.....48...hits....72 strike outs.
    38 saves...2.59 ERA...and a WHIP of 1.197.
    All that an injured knee, and wrist ?

    This guy has moxie. He has character, and is not a silent leader.
    Closer / or prime set up man....he is what this bullpen needs.
    Need more ? ........If he goes to Boston, they will make him a God.
    He, and Brian Roberts, are cut from the same swath of cloth.

  2. The stats are moot when you look at how much bigger the stadium out in Oakland is compared to ours... Especially with a fly ball pitcher like Balfour.

  3. IF STATS ARE MOOT...than all stats are moot. Throw them all out the window, and address the
    players themselves. And, what they are made of....and mean to this team.

    I gave examples of the fire, and bravado in Grant Balfour. And, indeed he is very good.
    He was made for NY & Boston.

    This Yankee team, which gets intimidated, and thrown at, all the time, needs a fresh attitude.
    Throw out the current milk & honey mind set. And insert fresh blood, that will
    say... "shut the f--- up, and sit down ! "
    McCann was the start, Balfour is the jump starter.

    My point : David Robertson, a fine man.....with no fire in his belly.

    1. I didn't use stats, I used Stadium dimensions. That is not something you can ignore or dismiss due to an eye test because of stats. Balfour is a fly ball pitcher. Balfour was average before he went to Oakland, his big home stadium with lots of outfield space and foul ground made him great. Take him out of that and put him in a hitters stadium and he goes back to average.

      Joba had fire, he sucked. Robertson was never given a full and fair shake at the closers position. How do you know?

    2. Belfour would be a nice pick-up on a minor league contract with incentives. Let him know that the contract, if consummated, would be a nice contract for him to show what he can do for the following year. He can come in as D-Robs back-up. I think it would work out fine.
      D-Rob will come after the golden Ring...and get it this year!

    3. Balfour has already said he would be willing to accept an 8th inning role. That was before the whole Orioles deal debacle. No way he signs a minor league deal though. He could go back to the Orioles and be the closer for very little guaranteed money with incentives if it got that bad for him.

    4. True Daniel but, I see him as a pitcher that (Now) has to show he can stay healthy and do the job.
      What better place to get a ring than with the Yankees, he sees they are getting better players than last year. Contract should be a minor league so as not to jam up the 40 man, either way he would help the mentality of the BP and make it better...don't you think?
      Come to ST and make them play you as the 8th, if not the closer. If he is a good enough pitcher he will make adjustments to his HR pitches when he sees them going out. Many pitchers get in the habit of pitching to their ball park, and it carries around where ever they pitch. If he can change fine, if not....he would still be an upgrade in our BP.
      I think, and as you know...I am never wrong! LOL

  4. I'M ASKED..." How do you know ?"
    You saw my opinion, on the merits of a person like Balfour, being on this team.
    I stand by my words. Balfour improves this team. At this point in time, I can not say that about Robertson.

    Interesting do I know ? I could ask that same question of you, but I won't.

    1. Well I know because I looked at the stats, but we decided (I decided) not to include those. I had a post showing the BIP locations if Balfour pitched 2013 in Yankee Stadium and not in Oakland and I saw his home run numbers alone would have doubled. His ERA would be bloated in New York.

    2. Grant Balfour....candidate for Yankee closer...2014.
      BIP is interesting. The wind blowing out in Oakland, is interesting also.

      I use the ancillary system. To me, it's more black, and white.
      @...72 strike outs in 62 innings, covering all different ballparks. I'll take that.
      @...Joba ? He had fire ? He was animated, but it ended there. In the end he was a shadow
      of his earlier self. Joba, is not in the same league with Balfour.
      @...Before I post, I scour everything I can find. Like you. What I found was a legion of
      site authors / posters....begging the Yankees to get Balfour. ( maybe not legion )
      @...The Oakland fans loved this guy, and what he brought to that team.

      I keep going back to what his character, means to this team.
      Set up / close....what ever. He will add fire, and swagger, to this 'excuse me' type of bullpen.

  5. I am with patrick on this guys. I have said it before and I will say it now that Robertson does not have the mental makeup to be the closer. If any of you guys paid attention to him when he was truly closing the 9th inning out you would've seen the deer in headlights look. I would've given Soriano a nice pay raise to close some games last year and work the 8th and make him the man for the next two years. This has nothing to do with Mariano it has to do with Robertson not have the chutzpah to get the job done and for one I am sick and tired of the Houdini act all the time. I watched Wettland do it and I don't want to go through this again. Give Balfour 1 year at 12 million with a vesting option on saves and let the two fight it out in camp.

  6. Ken Hans...thanks for the support.

    Maybe your words simplify what I was trying to say.
    This is about being the NY Yankees Closer. Not, who's next in the talent pool.
    I like Robertson, but why should he be handed this most difficult role ?

    Balfour, may have feet of clay, but he has been dirtied, humbled....but has gotten better
    every year.
    Robertson needs a true sparring partner, not a soup can, to prove he has the right
    to be called .....the NY Yankee Closer.

  7. How do you know he doesnt have the makeup? He got injured 12 days after Mariano went down in 2012 and came back to lose his job to Soriano. He has never been given a shot to close on a large sample size.

    Wetteland did pretty well in pinstripes Ken, whether you wanna see it or not, he had 72 saves as a Yankee. I'd take that from Robertson over a two year period. And I just want to point out that I am all for signing Balfour, just stick him in the 8th

  8. Daniel I remember Mariano breezing through the 8th inning and then bringing in Wettland who does exactly what Robertson does gets himself into trouble and out of trouble and I always said to myself at the time why not let Mariano close he does things so effortlessly, this was before Mariano closed but I saw a glimpse of greatness. Robertson is a good guy has a nasty curve, walks to many batters for closer material, can't hold runners on which is crucial as a closer and doesn't have the overpowering fastball that can get up to 96 and pump it in to get a strikeout. In my opinion and I respect yours Daniel but disagree whole heartedly that Robertson is the closer we need. Balfour is a psycho mental wise and has the perfect makeup as a closer especially in NY. Listen guys I am not hear to argue with anyone and I respect all of your opinions but don't always agree with them just as you guys do with me which makes this fun everyday. Bring in Balfour to CLOSE and get it done dumpster diver Cashman

    1. That's the problem you are going to run into, comparing everything and everyone to Mariano. No one has ever and probably never will again make this game look so easy so well for so long ever, not in our lifetime anyway.

  9. Why Robertson for closer...
    It seems to always come back to Mo! There is no Mo out there and comparing all pitchers to him is not good!
    One must remember, he came up as a starter...and failed...Stick/Showalter saw a closer and said so.
    He went on to become what he was...the best!
    With the class of a winner he quit just in fact, if he had not gotten hurt, he would have quit that year.

    Robertson, is a special type of pitcher, he pitches with a power motion (drop and drive) with one added part to it...his extra long stride of his plant foot. It is not how fast the pitch is how much time the hitter has to see it, recognise it, and hit it. At 92 it is as quick as others at 94/95 to the plate. He will learn, not to go for the perfect pitch, if he can learn to throw a change-up with his curve and fastball...look out world! Please no CUTTER!

    My humble opinion as a closer, never a starter!

  10. YESTERDAY...was a fun day. The feistiness needle, on the ' poster participation meter ', really
    took a jump. A good back & forth in those spirited posts. Nice job.
    Had not seen that level here, and I rolled into town back in October.

    Enjoyed pushing the envelope, and will continue to do so. I think the everyday poster enjoys
    reading those motivated comments.

    Daniel...sometimes it seems like some of the guys, fold like a house of cards, when challenged.
    That's fine in onto itself..But it would be nice to get them from standing on the sidelines.

    The results ? Opinions will differ, but in the end, we all care deeply about this team.
    Thank you for inviting me to post here..............................................patrick.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)