Poll: Replacing Mariano Rivera

The Yankees lost Mariano Rivera for the season when he tore his ACL shagging fly balls during batting practice two days ago. He says he will return to pitch next season, though the team still needs to replace him for the remainder of 2012.

Rivera, 42, is the greatest reliever in baseball history and even at his advanced age, the Yankees will be unable to find someone who can match his brilliance. Setup man David Robertson has emerged as one of the game’s best non-closing relievers over the last year, pitching to a 0.92 ERA with 121 strikeouts in 78 2/3 innings since the start of last season. He seems like the obvious choice to replace Rivera, at least initially, but he’s not the only option.

Ownership overruled GM Brian Cashman two offseasons ago to sign Rafael Soriano, the former All-Star closer with the Rays who became a setup man in New York. He missed time with an elbow issue last year and has pitched to a 3.72 ERA with 8.2 K/9 in 48 1/3 innings since signing with the Yankees. Although he’s been outpitched by Robertson, the team could prefer his ninth inning experience in Rivera’s stead. His salary ($11MM in 2012) could also be a factor.

Yesterday we heard that the Yankees will not aggressively pursue a reliever, but a trade can never really be ruled out. Closers like Huston Street, Brandon League, Brett Myers, and Jonathan Broxton could be available at the trade deadline, though that is just my speculation.

52 Responses to Poll: Replacing Mariano Rivera Leave a Reply

  1. Jason Richards 3 years ago

    Robertson is one of the best relievers in baseball period, I see absolutely no reason to make a trade. Relievers in general are overrated and seeing how much teams have had to give up to obtain shut down relievers the yankees are just better off going with Logan, Wade, Soriano, and Robertson to close out games.

  2. Devern Hansack 3 years ago

    No one should close because the closer role stems from trying to accumulate a meaningless counting stat. In regards to who should be the primary Yankees’ high leverage reliever, however, I’d choose Robertson. Robertson’s career FIP (2.74 to 3.29), K/9 (12.24 to 9.46), and GB% (42.9 to 31.4) demonstrate that he’s better suited for a high leverage role than Soriano.

    • Devern Hansack 3 years ago

      Then again, as a Sox fan, I’d welcome Brett Myers to the Bronx.

    • MaineSox 3 years ago

      For that exact reason I would put Soriano in the closer’s role.  The closer, more often than not, comes in to a clean inning to get three outs; the set-up man generally comes in in more high leverage situations than the closer.  Plus, Robertson can go more than one inning (unless I’m mistaken) and if they put him as the closer they are almost certain to limit him to one innings (closers almost never go multiple innings anymore).

      • Devern Hansack 3 years ago

        I agree with your reasoning, but I think that they’d be better served eliminating the role altogether and read platoon splits and leverage indices in order to maximize bullpen effectiveness. I’d love to see a saber-friendly guy like Girardi start an anti-closer revolution in baseball.

        • bigpat 3 years ago

           I’m sure that will work very easily because it’s not like pitchers aren’t creatures of habit or anything, especially relievers. It’s easy to look at numbers and make decisions but if that were the only element, many games would have much different outcomes.

        • MaineSox 3 years ago

          That’d be great.  Is Girardi really saber friendly? (not doubting you, I really have no idea)

          • Devern Hansack 3 years ago

            At the very least, he consistently looks into a book full of statistics in order to check splits and other statistics during a game. If any manager is going to do something saber-friendly and off-the-wall, it’s either going to be Girardi or Maddon.

          • Tko11 3 years ago

            Except Girardi has had that book of statistics fail him a couple of times already this year where it cost the yankees the game…So its not full proof in anyway but I actually do like the idea of not having one set closer.

  3. melonis_rex 3 years ago


    if trades are made they should deal with the rotation, not the pen.

  4. iheartyourfart 3 years ago

    robertson makes sense, but he’s too valuable the way they are using him now – as a general purpose shutdown guy in high leverage situations.  if they move him to the closer spot they lose arguably the most important role in their bullpen.

    • MaineSox 3 years ago

      Exactly this.  Soriano should absolutely be the closer IMO.

      • thesultanofswingandmiss 3 years ago

        This is kind of a Giants-Brian Wilson situation. They were trying to figure out who to put at closer, then they decided to use Lopez, Santi ago, and Romo (all of them). Dont do that for this, just keep Soriano. I would agree with fart. Robertson is to valuable.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

         Thinking this is tongue in cheek (wanting Soriano) as I don’t think Soriano would be a good success in the pressure cooker that is NY as the closer.

        Also don’t see any real viable closer available right now whom they could target and be better than they could fill internally.. That includes Street, Marmol, Broxton.. Think they will wait the market out a bit..

        • MaineSox 3 years ago

          Nope, I’m serious.  If it’s not Soriano it should be someone else besides Robertson, he’s way too valuable to limit to the closer’s role.

      • JacobyWanKenobi 3 years ago

         Having Soriano close can have more benefits as well. Robertson gets to stay in his current role, which is undoubtedly important, and if Soriano performs well, not only does the team get a good closer, but it will up his value with which they may look to move him this winter (His contact is for ’12 and ’13 right?) to save money. They’ll have Joba back next year, as well as Mariano, so the 7th and 9th innings will be good, assuming Joba is back to form.

        • MaineSox 3 years ago

          And Soriano was a successful closer in Tampa Bay, so he’s done it in the AL East, and he had to do it against the Yankees back then.  Not having to face the Yankees lineup should make it easier.

        • That is true, but David Robertson was drafted with 9th inning in mind.

          • MaineSox 3 years ago

            That’s dumb though, why would you limit your best reliever to one, generally low leverage, inning?  I would want my best reliever to pitch in the highest leverage situation whether that came in the 7th, 8th, or 9th inning.

            If you’ve got a runner on third with less than two outs in the 7th inning of a tie game, would it make sense to use anyone other than your best reliever (and the guy most likely to get a strike out)?  No, it wouldn’t, so why limit your best reliever to the ninth inning (when he’s 99% of the time going to come into a clean inning – no one on base)?

    • ellisburks 3 years ago

      I just love your name.

    • Jesse Piper 3 years ago

      how can you argue that putting robertson in the same position is a waste. Mo filled that role previously.. was that a waste??

  5. Ryan Mooney 3 years ago

    Make a trade get Wilson valdez from the reds he knows how to close…lol

  6. Girardi has already said he’s going closer by committee, so I don’t understand why everyone is still talking about this.  I don’t expect him to make a real decision for a replacement anytime soon, maybe not even this year and maybe not ever.  I think Girardi would rather have a few of those high leverage guys that he can use when necessary, rather than having one guy strictly pitch in the 9th.  Just my 2 cents.  

  7. After how well Soriano did for the Rays, I think it would be smart to put him back in. Soriano isn’t a relief pitcher, he’s a closer. He didn’t do well because of the shift… So I say Soriano, hands down.

    • thesultanofswingandmiss 3 years ago

      Agreed totally. Just keep Robertson as the setup. Think what it would look like

      Sabathia 5-7 innings, Robertson 1-2 innings, Soriano 1 inning. THAT would be pretty great.

    • Finally someone who can remember past last year. Soriano wasn’t just good in 2010 he was the best closer in baseball plus it was in the AL east

      • Infield Fly 3 years ago

        He was something else for sure!

        Recently I heard a discussion (on Baseball Tonight or MLB TV) about how many closers have performed their best (or close to it) in Tampa regardless of the lack of fan support. As I recall Joe Maddon was credited for a lot of that. Do you think there is anything to that?

        • johnsilver 3 years ago

          “regardless of the lack of fan support”

          Not entirely true. When the NYY or Boston is at the Trop, the place sells out and the only reason you can’t tell the stadium fans are more loudly “charged” for the visiting teams is a few thousand of the “homer” Rays fans drag along their cowbells and clang them non stop whenever Yankee and Red Sox fans get too loud.

          A place that normally sells 15-20k vs most teams all of a sudden sells out vs 2 teams.. Take it from someone who goes to some Sox games each year there and endures the Rays and their cowbell torture…

          • Infield Fly 3 years ago

            “regardless of the lack of fan support”

            Sure, I understand your point but the Sawks & Yanks tend to fill stadiums wherever they go, so that is to be expected. I am really referring to what happens in the other 120-130 games (or whatever it is. Not doing da math today :p).

          • Don’t remind me of the cowbells. Every time I go to a Rays game I cry. They’re still in my ears, man. STILL IN MY EARS.

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

             For sure and to think it is all Schillings fault (the cowbells) with his remark long ago about the community.

            Some of those fans either won’t get over it, or just can’t stand the fact both Yankee and Sox fans are more intense (and louder) than Rays fans at their own stadium.

          • From everyone I know, it’s the latter. So they cowbells. Ugh, it’s so so painful. Once you’ve heard the cowbells live, it’s just… you can never be normal again.

          • Tko11 3 years ago

            Nothing can be as bad as the vuvuzelas during the last world cup! Those things were beyond annoying, even watching on tv.

        • radicalhenri 3 years ago

           definitely something to that. think about it: soriano, farnsworth, benoit, cruz, rodney, joel peralta just in the last 2 1/2 years. that’s sick. and there’s more i didn’t mention.

  8. Robertson averages 12.2 K’s/9 innings and has an ERA of UNDER 1.00 since the start of last season. Sorry to see Rivera have such an injury, but what else does Robertson need to do to be given this chance?

  9. Maybe trade for Brian Wilson, Ryan Madson, Drew Storen, Andrew Bailey or Joakim Soria?

  10. I voted David Robertson…he was a closer at Alabama and likely the closer-in-waiting.

  11. icedrake523 3 years ago

    Try Soriano first. Being in the closer’s role may make him happier and perform better. If he fails, then try Robertson.

  12. Ryan Mooney 3 years ago

    Bring back roger clemens he can close…lol

  13. Encarnacion's Parrot 3 years ago

    Why trade for a reliever to close when David Robertson has been absolutely filthy?

  14. Jason Richards 3 years ago

    Saves is a meaningless stat. Robertson is better than Soriano in every aspect as of right now.

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