Thursday, December 18, 2014

Yankees don't need a "proven" closer

The New York Yankees currently possess an area of strength, potentially their only one at the present time, in their bullpen. With the addition of Andrew Miller and Justin Wilson to the fold, combined with the return of Dellin Betances, the Bombers have a very strong back end of the bullpen. You know what? The front end is pretty good too.

Add Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren (I’m not buying the starting rotation talk for him) Esmil Rogers (or the loser of the fifth starter role) and potentially add Jacob Lindgren to the mix and the Yankees don’t have any holes in the pen as far as I’m concerned.

Sure, there isn’t a player who has been a full-time closer but there are two guys in Miller and Betances who certainly have the stuff and the demeanor to close games. Perhaps Yankees manager Joe Girardi uses them in a split role allowing him to march one or the other out based on the circumstances of the game. Or maybe Girardi will simply come to camp and see who looks best in the ninth inning and name a closer for Opening Day. I’d have no issue with either of those deployment options.

There is rampant speculation that the Yankees will look at some relievers with closing experience. Some believe the Yankees NEED a proven closer. Guys like Jason Grilli, Rafael Soriano, Casey Janssen and Francisco Rodriguez are mentioned frequently as veterans who could simply come in and take over the closer role.

It’s enticing to think that Miller and Betances could cover the seventh and eighth innings for sure, but none of those “tested” closers are a sure thing. Further, not one of them is better than Miller or Betances. And each of them could surely add overpriced salary to an already expensive team.

Having saves under one’s belt does not make them the most qualified person to close out games. Talent and performance, shown at the moment, does. The Yankees have that right now with two different players.

And more so, the Yankees possess a veteran presence as well as up and coming talent littered in the system for added depth. They each area covered; closer, setup, middle relief and swingman. There is no need to add a "grizzled" veteran to the mix in my view. The Yankees can spend the extra cash for the starter they DO need and utilize the current crop of relief arms assembled to hold down the bullpen.

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison via Flickr.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer and sports media strategist. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports, the FanSided network, Sportsideo and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.