Steinbrenner endorses Robertson as next Yankees closer

David Robertson 2

Even before Mariano Rivera decided to retire following the 2013 season, the Yankees have toyed with the idea of having David Robertson as Rivera’s successor to the closing throne. The move would have made sense; throughout the 2013 season, Robertson followed Rivera around, he even had a locker next to Rivera’s, taking in every ounce of knowledge with hope that one day he would take over Rivera’s role. Of course when Rivera actually retired and the 2013 offseason began, the Yankees briefly looked at the options that were available on the market for a Major League closer. With less than a month to go before Spring Training, Hal Steinbrenner made an endorsement; he believes David Robertson should be the next closer of the organization.

“We’re going to rely on [David] Robertson. I’m sure he’ll do a good job for us.” Steinbrenner told the New York Post.

Although Robertson should get the closer role, it could be up to Joe Girardi to decide whether Robertson will get the role. So, will Joe Girardi agree with Steinbrenner’s endorsement and make Robertson the new Yankees closer?

“I think you’ll have to ask [Joe] Girardi that, but that’s my understanding. He’s [David Robertson] the number one candidate. Rightfully so.”

It doesn’t sound as if the Yankees will sign a closer off the free agent market to immediately take over the closer role, but the team might wait until Spring Training to decide whether Robertson is ready to fill Rivera’s shoes.

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25 Responses to Steinbrenner endorses Robertson as next Yankees closer

  1. I don't understand, and haven't understood, why this is an issue. The guy is better than 95 percent of the closers out there. Signing another closer would help the bullpen depth, but it would be a downgrade in the 9th inning.

    • mlblogsnewyorkyankees13 says:

      To be honest Rob, anything would be a downgrade in the 9th inning. No one in that bullpen is Mariano Rivera. As for this being an issue, you're right. D-Rob deserves to close and has earned the right. Why the Yankees organization is doing this is beyond me.

      • olie says:

        No such think as earned the right in pro sports if they can find someone better you sign him. One of Rivera's strengths was his control and I am not to sure that is true of Robertson. I do have to say though when he's on he is real good.

      • jim harper says:

        Robertson has definitely earned the opportunity. It will be tough for him though because he will be unfairly compared Mariano. Betances could be an excellent set-up if he can maintain good control. He has an excellent fastball which can go in the upper 90's when only used one inning and he can cut it loose, and he is cheap. I would like to see him get a chance to do that. He clearly does much better when not used as a starter.

    • Ron Tamoschat says:

      My problem with Robertson as the closer is that he takes too many pitches to get out of an inning. He often gets in trouble and has to work his way out of jams , that's why they call him "Houdini". I can't see him pitching back to back games too often , thats why I think the Yankes need another closer. If not Balfour , maybe a guy like Jesse Crain who would be a low cost insurance policy.

      • Tanned Tom says:

        Elite level pitchers have a WHIP of 1.00 to 1.20, meaning even the very best average 1 or more baserunners per inning. So pitching out of a jam is the essence of pitching.

        • Ron Tamoschat says:

          Robertson's career WHIP is 1.25. I think that is somewhat high for an elite closer. Ron Tamoschat.

          • Tanned Tom says:

            Okay, so .05 runners per inning above elite. That's 1 extra runner every 20 innings. I really think we should give him a shot, he's been the best set up man in baseball for the last 3 years.

      • Mike Sommer says:

        Crain signed with Houston.

  2. Yankees fan says:

    Robertson has a nasty curve but he pitches way to much Grant Balfour would be a better closing pitcher.

  3. yankeeman says:

    Rob has earned it. If Balfour is SO GOOD why did the O's reject him????? HUH!!!!

    • Joey says:

      because they found an abnormality in his pitching shoulder dumbass!! Maybe you should do some research

  4. Mike says:

    id till sign balfour even if robertson is the closer bc i think alot of teams are staying away from balfour and the yankees will be able to get him cheap and he will proboly accept a set up job

  5. Michael R says:

    He has earned his shot. The rest is up to him.

  6. Balt Yank says:

    Yanks should let D ROB close and should sign him up to a multiyear deal now. Worst case scenario is D ROB is the best setup man in baseball, or at least top 3-5. Yanks should stay under the 189 mark this year, forget about Japanese imports, and sign Marc Reynolds for 3rd base w/ rest of the money. Dude can hit 220 20 homes 70 rbis I bet. Better than Nunez.

    • Tanned Tom says:

      Just the mention of the name Nunez sends a shiver up my colon.

      • Enough with the Nunez bashing. He was the third leading hitter on a team that won 85 games last year and was in the Wild Card chase until the final week of the season. And Icharo, the 2nd leading hitter on the team, a lefty that hits left handed pitchers than right handers, and hit both well. Plus, defensively, he is a B+ outfielder STILL and has the best throwing arm of any outfielder on the roster. Think about it, the Yanks didn't roll over and die last year. SO HOW BAD CAN NUNEZ and ICHARO BE? There are plenty of teams that would have accepted and felt happy winning 85 games. We, as Yankee fans have been spoiled.

        As far as Robertson is concerned, he is going to have to be more economical with his pitches. I would have liked to have seen them extend his contract as a show of faith because his confidence is not exactly inspirational. Remember Girardi pulling him after throwing one ball and bringing on Mo against Toronto last year? Would not touch Balfour, even for simply bullpen depth and apparently every Major League Team feels the same way.

        One more, why not extend Gardner if they are so high on him? They should have extended Cano last spring training and gotten him for the 7 years $25MM per easily. But nooooooooo. So if they are going to screw around with Gardner may as well trade him for another "rental" in Chase Headly? There is not an experienced 3rd baseman on the 40 man roster. Kelly Johnson, a career 16 starts at 3rd, and is nothing to brag about at 2nd defensively which is way Tampa Bay had him in left field.

        • Tanned Tom says:

          Oh please, the jury's in on Nunez. But I'll play your game: if he was so good why sign Roberts and Johnson and Ryan? He's still on the roster because he's cheap, still has minor league options, and no one else wants him. Not because he's good.
          Nunez is a back up at best, and Ichiro is done, no more than a 4th OF. A mediocre BA, with a bad OBP and no power is not exactly the skill set we're looking for in RF.
          Extending Robertson as a "show of faith" is too absurd to comment.
          The reason they don't extend Gardner is that they are trying to get under the $189 million for 2014, and since the AAV counts towards the luxury cap level, any extension will make it harder.
          Letting Cano go was easy. He wanted to leave, or be overpaid, and the money is better spent on 2 or 3 players than 1.

          • Tanned Tom says:

            And by what stretch of logic was Suzuki the 2nd best hitter on the team? Cano and Gardner were both clearly better.

          • Ichiro hit .262, second in BA to Cano. I am touting him as the 4th outfielder, Nunez hit .260, his arm was no longer a serious hazard to people sitting behind the First Base Dugout. He is the most experienced 3rd basemen on the team as far as games started and will get his shot in spring training partly, Girardi likes him. Robertson's ego is fragile, and beside that paying him now will be far less than paying him as a FA. Now go get some sunblock,

          • "partly because Girardi likes him" is the 3rd to the last sentence above ————-Robertson is replacing a legend, do you not think that is an extra burden? He has all the signs as a guy who can crash and burn. When Mariano was hurt in 2012 they wanted Robbie to take over as the closer because they were down on Rafael Soriano, because Soriano was miserable as a set up man in 2011. Robertson was initially handed the closer'd job, he was intimidated and said as much to the press. For the week and a half he was the closer it showed. Thankfully they had Soriano.

            And, is it "absurd" to extend contracts while they still have control over the player? If the Yanks had done more of it they would not have to worry about Plan 189. The Yankee way is letting people go Free Agent, then deciding if they will match the other teams offer. That's why they were hairline close to losing Bernie to Boston back in the day, and Mariano to the Red Sox Forget AAV's. Elsbury's AAV is $21.5 Million. Hank has already said it, Plan 189 will wait for next year. Better to extend him now than to be hamstrung NEXT YEAR when they will be doing the 189 again.

          • Tanned Tom says:

            The pitcher with the best ERA since 2010, minimum 250 innings is……David Robertson, 2.36.
            I think he deserves a shot at closer. I believe in giving a guy more than 10 days to see what he can do.

          • Nunez is a 3rd baseman.

            Roberts, Johnson, Ryan are not 3rd Basemen.

            I was mistaken, Ichiro had the 3rd highest BA on the team, Nunez had the 4th.

            Your point about Nunez having options is moot, according to your logic. Since "no one wants him" why worry about waivers and options? Release him, clear an extra spot on the 40 man roster and sign Mark Reynolds to a Major League contract. Invite Nunez to Spring Training as a non-roster attendee. Since "no one wants him", nothing would stand in the way of the Yanks doing that, correct?

            Here's the reality pre-Spring Training, 3rd base was between Nunez. Reynolds was a very available FA. They chose Nunez. Barring a trade, if the season started next week, Nunez is the starting 3rd baseman.

  7. Yankees fan says:

    That's funny Tanned Tom lol

  8. Balt Yank says:

    I guess this debate is another reason the Ellsbury signing makes no sense. Rather, we could have extended Gardner, Robertson, and gotten an Arroyo type back of the rotation dependable starter, all for less. Of course, Gardner's injury history makes him uncertain . . . like Ellsbury. LOL.