Rivera: Robertson is the Yankees closer

David Robertson 3

Just a week after Hal Steinbrenner appointed David Robertson as the Yankees closer for 2014, Mariano Rivera gave his own endorsement to his former teammate at the BBWAA dinner last night.

While Rivera was honored, a fan yelled out from his seat, “one more year.”

Although Mo was flattered, he simply pointed to Robertson and gave his own endorsement to all the baseball writers and fans in attendance. Rivera made it clear he “emptied the tank” and said, “You have a new closer right here.”

So first Steinbrenner and now Mo. Now all we need is Brian Cashman to move from his “maybe” stage and get on board with everyone else. Robertson will be the closer this season, so can there be no debate about it?

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18 Responses to Rivera: Robertson is the Yankees closer

  1. Ian says:

    well i got one, although i really like seeing oudini's getting out of the jam, he has a bad habit to go into these situations.

    Yes he has great stuff and an incredible curve ball, but i fear his irregularity.
    Off course he earned the right to try so let's see, and i'll be thrilled to see him succeed, but i honestly doubt it.. i think he will do the lift, sometimes he'll be untouchable, sometimes he will loose a game, but it will be more of a 50/50 than a closer regularity if you see what i mean.

    Of course again i'm not expecting a 90/10 à la Mo.. no one can ^_^

  2. Berdj Joseph Rassam says:

    Filling Rivera's shoes will be beyond tough.

  3. John Rotolo says:

    the only question is whether he can be economical enough to close back to back games on a regular basis

  4. Don Bonomi says:

    As I have posted before, Robertson should continue his past duties for 2014 that he has performed so well in the past. His role as an 8th inning set up man is perfect for him and he has had experience and success in that role. I repeat, he has not had much experience or success as a closer. If all of you Yankee fans watched all their games last year you know what I'm talking about. Robertson is not overpowering. He doesn't throw 97-100 mph. His control is at best, erratic. His fastball is straight with little or no movement and if doesn't hit his spots, he gets shelled. His curveball is a great off speed pitch for him but he doesn't get it over the plate consistently enough and his walks in the 9th inning will make every Yankee scream and cry. He's also not as durable as Mo was. He will not last the season without being on the D.L. once or twice with arm or groin problems. Cashman talks a lot about having competition during Spring training for the closer position, but, who amongst the present Yankee relief pitchers has had significant experience or success in that department. The answer is no-one! Mo has been the guy all these years and when he got hurt, who filled in admirably for him: Soriano. A good closer needs to have both experience and success at this job and that's why Soriano was successful for the year that Mo was out with his injury. Passing the torch to Robertson without a trial under fire is a big mistake. Keep him in his present role where he has been successful and go out and get a big time closer for this difficult job. Cashman whiffed on Benoit and Balfour. Rodney is the best closer left on the market and the Yankees should sign him before he commits to another club. The Yankees need to do this to make their 2014 team makeover complete.

    • VirginiaYankeeFan says:

      Gee, I'm sure glad the Yanks did not follow this logic in 1997, when Wetteland left, and they had a guy who was perfect as a setup man. Analyzing Robertson's "stuff" is pointless. If he has proven he can succeed pitching one inning, it does not matter stuff-wise whether that is the 8th inning or the 9th inning. The difference is the mental aspect. Period.

  5. Michael says:

    This is my prediction, either they trade for Papelbon and make him closer or they stick with Robertson and make him closer for the first half of this season. If Robertson can't handle the job, the Yankees will trade for Papelbon in the july trade deadline.

  6. I have said it many times and I will say it again — if you don't think Robertson can, and should, be the Yankees closer then you are being silly.

    Most people should also realize that DRob seriously cut down on the amount of pitches he has used per inning over the past year and a half.

    Here is a great article on DRob via Beyond the Box Score: http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2014/1/24/533860

    • Michael says:

      He has the stuff, there is no question but it's the walks. Robertson walks so many guys in the 8th and then gets out of them. He can't do that all the time. My heart can't go through that every 9th inning. Plus we need a step man, if the set up man doesn't pan out then what we ask Robertson to pitch 8th and 9th innings? I just think a Robertson and Papelbon bullpen would be stronger than a Kelly, Robertson bullpen.

  7. gerald says:

    If any one thinks Robertson has not earned a shot they are not real Yankee fans! Mo believes that he can do the job and so do I. I also worry about him lasting the entire season but given the chance I think he will make it. I think that if Joe doesn't pull relief pitchers out so fast when they are showing great stuff, it may cut down on the innings that the 8th and 9th innings pitchers are force to pitch. It would also build the trust of those pitcher that Joe believes in them to help the club. I don't think it would bother Robertson or the 8th inning pitcher at all.
    Also hope they do not trade Brett, they will really need that speed on the bases without the home run power of the past. He is also great to watch in the outfield. Overall, this is the best outfield they have had in awhile and will stay that way if they don't trade off their young outfielders as they have done in the past. Have let a lot of really good ones go, only to get a worn out replacement that doesn't last for two years.

  8. Mike Sommer says:

    The same doubts people have about D-Rob now are the same doubts people were saying about Mo in the spring of 1997 after the Yanks let Wetteland go. I'm not saying that Robertson will be another Mo. No one can fill those shoes, but that in the spring of 1997, people were saying the same thing and having the same doubts. All you can do is give the guy the opportunity and see how he runs with it.

  9. olie says:

    Although I am not convinced making Robertson closer is the perfect move (not being silly!) he can't be any scarier than
    Soriano was closing a couple of years back, and he had success!

  10. So here's the deal — Robertson didn't come up from the minors as good as Rivera. It took him time to improve as a pitcher. He used to have high walk rates in the 4.5 – 4.8 BB/9 range. He used to average 4.54 pitches per plate appearance a year. One year his ERA was 3.82. It happens. He was 23-25.

    Things started to change in 2011 when he had a 1.08 ERA. However, he was still "houdini" with the high walk rate and 4.44 pitches per plate appearance.

    By 2012, though, he was the man. He cut his BB/9 to 2.8 and his pitches per plate appearance to 3.93. His ERA went up to 2.67, but if you remember he was hurt during the latter portion of that year.

    Last season the man just dominated. His ERA was 2.04, his K/9 dipped a little, but his BB/9 dropped to 2.4 and he showed a real ability to get hitters out without just striking everyone out. He also maintained a still very good 4.02 pitches per plate appearance.

    Just to compare, Rivera had a 2.12 ERA, a 7.7 K/9, and a 1.37 BB/9 in his last two seasons (his control is amazing and even very good relievers can't replicate that). He tossed 3.72 pitches per plate appearance. In the same span, DRob had a 2.67 ERA, a 12.02 K/9 and a 2.8 BB/9. And tossed 3.97 pitches per plate appearance. Is he as good as Mariano Rivera? No, but nobody is.

    As for Papelbon, he had a 2.67 ERA, a 10.2 K/9 and a 1.98 BB/9 and needed 3.92 pitches per plate appearance. Do you really think the Yankees need to add $40 million to payroll and trade prospects and players (Gardner would have to be on the table because the Yankees farm system sucks) to trade for a guy that basically is D-Rob, but older and with a longer injury history?

    D-Rob used to get into jams, walk a lot of batters, and need his houdini act on a nightly basis, but then he got older, got better. Now he's just as good as the $40 million brat that some are clamoring for.

    D-Rob in 2014. All other options are inferior.