For the second year in a row, the New York Yankees will begin the season with a new closer in the bullpen.
News broke Monday night of All-Star reliever David Robertson agreeing to a 4-year, $46 million deal with the Chicago White Sox (Nightengale, Dec. 8th).
This was a no-brainer for the White Sox, addressing the bullpen was an area of concern for them this winter. Last month they signed Zach Duke to a three-year deal, he’ll most likely be Robertson’s setup man. Chicago also traded for starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija on Monday, ensuring their team as making the biggest splash on the first day of the winter meetings.
What’s left for the Yankees is a major question mark in their bullpen. Robertson saved 39 games in 2014 for the Yankees, admirably replacing the great Mariano Rivera as the team’s closer. However, all isn’t lost for the Yankees here. They’ve already added free agent reliever Andrew Miller, he’ll join youngster Dellin Betances in the bullpen.
The idea of a Miller-Robertson-Betances bullpen was a good thought to entertain, however Robertson did enough in 2014 to show everyone he’s a top closer, expecting him to step back for Betances was not realistic.
Another way to look at this is Robertson’s price tag just may have been too steep for the Yankees, especially after committing to Miller for $36 million over four years. I’m all for having a strong bullpen, especially for the Yankees, however Miller and Betances could prove to be successful with the more traditional 1-2 punch in the 8th and 9th innings.
It would appear that the Yankees are, at the very least, intrigued with the idea of Betances as their closer. He made the All-Star team in 2014 setting up for Robertson, his arm is live and electric.
With the money saved from letting Robertson walk, the Yankees have options. They could go after a another reliever, preferably cheaper, with experience closing games. The juicy option would be if general manager Brian Cashman decides to address his highly questionable starting rotation by pursuing free agent starting pitcher Max Scherzer.
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