Replacing Mariano: Is David Robertson really the answer?

This offseason, the New York Yankees have made many signings that have excited the fan base and have many supporters counting down the days until pitchers and catchers report to Tampa. The acquisitions of Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran are vital to getting the offense back on track after scoring only 650 runs, which was only 16th best in the league last year.

The news now has shifted to the possible signing of Masahiro Tanaka and of course New York's favorite son, Alex Rodriguez, gracing us with his presence in media, but not on the field in the 2014 season.

With all of that said, there is a still a major question mark going into 2014 that has not really been talked about. That inquiry is whether or not David Robertson is the right man to close out games for the Bombers in 2014 and maybe beyond.

David Robertson has been the 8th inning specialist for the Yankees since 2010 and has been the best in that role since Mariano himself back in 1996. Robertson has gone 15-13 with a 2.40 ERA and an All-Star appearance in that span, but in that same amount of time has only accumulated 7 saves while blowing 10 of them in 17 chances.

He struggled when trying to fill in for Mariano in 2012 and that forced the Yankees to promote Rafael Soriano to the closer role. He had a stellar year in the Bronx. Soriano saved 42 games in 46 opportunities and had a 2.26 ERA while only allowing 17 earned runs that season.

At that time it only seemed logical for the Yankees to resign Soriano so that he could be the closer in waiting for Mariano after 2013, but he signed with the Washington Nationals.

This big question still has not been answered and I believe that there is a simple solution; bring in Grant Balfour.

Balfour was an All Star last year with the Oakland Athletics, pitching 62.2 innings with a 2.59 ERA, accumulated 38 saves last year and because of not passing his physical in Baltimore he has basically fallen into the laps of the Yankees.

Last offseason, a similar scenario happened with Mike Napoli and the Boston Red Sox when Napoli was set to sign a 3-year deal with Boston, but he failed the physical. His value decreased and the Sox signed him to a one year deal, which ended up being their biggest signing of last offseason.

The Yankees have a chance to pull off a similar feat and the fact that Balfour was only going to sign for 2 years and 15 million dollars, according to the Baltimore Sun Times, the Yankees could sign him to a one year deal worth half of that.

Mitch Williams, MLB Network Analyst, agrees with me and said on MLB Tonight that Balfour's shoulder is ok and that he would be a perfect fit for the Yankees.

Yankees fans know how important Mariano was to the dynasty of the late 1990s and early 2000s. We know how important it is to lock down that 9th inning at a crucial moment. That is why we need someone who knows how to get the job done and David Robertson has proved he is not worthy of the job. He should stay right where he is and continue to pitch well while the Yankees sure up the 9th inning by snatching Grant Balfour from the talons of those Orioles.

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