Friday, January 30, 2015

The Need for a “Defined” Closer

Here we are just two days away from the beginning of February, and Prospects Month on the blog in case you needed a reminder, and the New York Yankees still don’t know who the team’s closer is going to be. Gone is David Robertson after signing with the Chicago White Sox this offseason and gone into the sunset are the days of Mariano Rivera. What the team is now left with is Andrew Miller, probably the team’s biggest free agent signing this winter, and Dellin Betances. Neither of these men have much closing experience, although Robertson didn’t have much before 2014 and pitched admirably in the role, so would the Yankees be better off signing a defined one inning closer? In a word, yes.

The good news for the Yankees is that even this late in the game there are more than a few capable closers out there on the free agent market. Both Rafael Soriano and Francisco Rodriguez have shown that they can handle the market and the fans in New York with the Yankees and the Mets respectively and both could be had for cheap(er) one year deals.

The thing that makes both Betances and Miller special, besides the fact that they absolutely dominate any and every batter that the opposing teams puts up to the plate, is that they can pitch anywhere in the game and for multiple innings. Sometimes a game can be “saved”, whether the statistics reflect it or not, or “held” in the bottom of the sixth, the top of the seventh, or the bottom of the eighth inning. Taking away the “fireman” role from these two men would be the equivalent of taking our fastest runner or best defender, Brett Gardner or Mark Teixeira respectively, and making them the DH for the upcoming season.

New York has made it their goal to have the best and deepest bullpen in the game in 2015 and it is a great plan but the plan is not complete without a defined 9th inning closer in my opinion. 


  1. I agree with the need for an established closer, but shouldn't that have been thought of before we loaded our bullpen? We've already got 6 locks with Betances, Carpenter, Miller, Rogers, Warren, and Wilson. We have some young arms that can easily fill the 7th spot. Signing anybody at this point only blocks our pipeline further.

  2. I don't buy into the need for a closer, we already have one in Dellin! As for the stoppers for that certain spot before the 8th inning, there is a plethora of very good Closer types already in the system. One I called a starter (by mistake once) Rumbelow and another one in Lindgren. Both have shown great stuff, all be it, on the farm.

  3. Daniel makes a great point in saying that making Dellin a closer takes away from his ability to pitch more than 1 inning. Ken you also make a good point because I agree that he can handle the closer role. I think that if we were going to sign an established closer, they should have done it before we acquired all the bullpen pieces we did. Now, I just think it would be counterproductive and a waste of resources.

  4. Jeff,

    signing a Soriano or a Rodriguez only blocks the pipeline for a season. Plus with bullpen guys being so interchangeable I don't think it would make much of a difference anyway.


    Dellin can be a closer but like my example stated you take away his biggest asset. Saving Dellin for the 9th inning really takes away from what makes him special.

    It may be counter productive to acquire more pieces but Cashman is not afraid of making a signing or a trade to improve the team. Shawn Kelley was let go, Gonzalez Germen was brought in. Germen went out, Carpenter came in. Relief pitching is a constant revolving door.

    1. I won't argue that it only blocks the pipeline for a year. My argument is that if we're bringing guys like this in every year, they are in fact blocked longer than a year. If you're advocating bringing in veteran relievers on minor league deals, then bring it on. But signing somebody like Soriano or Rodriguez will take about $5 million. Even on a 1 year deal. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but if you started adding up all of these it's only $5 million contracts, then we could have brought in a better starter than Capuano.

    2. Capuano is keeping the seat warm for Nova. Nova will be the fifth starter when the plan comes to fruition, not Capuano.

  5. And to add I think every single relief pitcher that Cashman acquired this offseason with the exception of David Carpenter and of course Andrew Miller have at least one minor league option remaining....


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