It was just a normal Thursday in May. Mariano Rivera was shagging flies before a 7:05 start in Kansas City. Then the New York Yankees bullpen got turned upside down. Rivera, the man that had been closing games for the Yankees for 16 seasons, was down on the outfield dirt with a right knee injury. He was lost for the season. Rafael Soriano eventually stepped in and saved an impressive 42 games when the season came to a close. Soriano was a huge reason why the Yankees were able to win the American League East.
Now it appears that Rivera's career might be over as Yankees general manager Brian Cashman recently stated that Rivera is considering hanging his spikes up for good. What that means is that the Yankees don't know who will be closing games in 2013. Soriano can choose to opt out of his contract, and it is believed he will exercise that option. Soriano would be walking away from a $14 million salary in 2013, so you can just imagine how many truckloads of money it would take just to bring him back. I don't think the Yankees should pay that much money for a closer. This all means they need to let Soriano go close games elsewhere.
So who does that leave as the Yankees closer? The obvious and best choice is already in their bullpen and that is David Robertson. In his very brief tenure as closer, after Rivera went down, Robertson saved one game and blew another save. He then landed on the disabled list with a strained oblique. While Robertson was away Soriano excelled and then Robertson was back to his eighth inning setup role when he returned from the disabled list.
Robertson will get a raise in 2013, his first year of arbitration eligibility. Even with this increase in salary his hit to the payroll will be nowhere near what Soriano's would be. The Yankees will then need to sign guys to fill in the seventh and eighth inning roles in the bullpen. Even if combined all three of those salaries it would probably cost less than just signing Soriano.
The time has come to give Robertson the ball. With back to back impressive seasons he has earned the opportunity. I am confident he will prosper in the new role.
Darren Pare is a third generation Yankees fan. The unique thing is that he lives in the middle of Red Sox nation, Maine, and has for all his life and that gives him a different perspective. You can follow him on Twitter @dpare71 or on Facebook.
More from this contributor:
- Sports & Recreation
- Rafael Soriano
- Mariano Rivera
- David Robertson