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Should the Yankees' next closer be Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller or both of them?

Should the Yankees let Betances and Miller be co-closers, or should they pick one over the other for the role?

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of the offseason, the Yankees opted to let David Robertson sign with the White Sox, despite the fact that he pitched well in his first year taking over the role from Mariano Rivera. The Yankees went ahead and signed lefty Andrew Miller to a cheaper deal, and there has been talk about him taking over as closer or splitting time with Dellin Betances. Now that spring training is getting closer, do the Yankees need to pick one or the other as closer?

This is a situation that the Yankees have not been in for quite some time since Mo held down the role of closer for so long, aside from the unfortunate fly ball shagging incident in 2012, when Rafael Soriano was waiting in the wings and already had that "proven closer" title. After Rivera retired, it seemed natural for Robertson to move from being the 8th inning setup man to closing out games. Now they have two really good relievers in Betances and Miller, but no one in the bullpen has actual experience in the role of closer.

There's also the question of how the Yankees will decide between the two, if they don't have them work as co-closers. It's not like this is really a decision that can be made at spring training. We know the Yankees have loved their "spring training competitions" in the past, but that seems better suited for starting pitchers or position players. Spring training lineups already aren't filled with all high-caliber players to begin with, and the best players are usually replaced with minor leaguers by the middle of the game. It would be really difficult for them to create a scenario during spring training that would have the same feel as the Yankees being up by one run going into the bottom of the ninth inning during a regular season game. They could just keep track of who has the better stats by the end of spring training, but that would probably be meaningless in determining who would be more successful as closer.

Since Miller and Betances are both good pitchers, it feels like choosing one over the other to be closer is kind of a win-win situation. Assuming that whoever isn't closer becomes the setup man, then opponents should be very wary of the 8th and 9th innings. However, if the Yankees want to go with the best overall pitcher to be the next closer, then you could make a strong case that Betances is that guy. He struck out 135 batters over 90 innings last season. He only allowed 4 home runs and 24 walks during that time. Betances finished up his rookie season with 13.50 K/9, 2.40 BB/9, 0.40 HR/9, 0.78 WHIP, 1.40 ERA, 1.64 FIP and 3.2 fWAR. Opponents only had a .147 batting average against him. Betances was incredible last season, so we can probably expect him to fall back to Earth a bit.

There is also a strong case for Andrew Miller. He pitched 62.1 innings last season and during that time he put up 14.87 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, 0.43 HR/9, 0.80 WHIP, 2.02 ERA, 1.51 FIP and 2.3 fWAR. He held opponents to a .150 batting average. Those numbers are very similar to Betances, so again, it would be hard to be upset with either one of them winning the role of closer. Although, it has been pointed out that Miller is already locked into his contract for the next four years, while Betances won't even be arbitration eligible until 2017. If the Yankees make Betances the closer and he excels, then his 2017 arbitration salary could significantly increase at the detriment of the team. They might save money if they leave him as the setup man. On the other hand, the team will have a lot of large contracts coming off the books in 2017, and that's such a long way off that it might not even matter.

Of course, the Yankees could also opt to have Betances and Miller share the roll and just play to the matchups, but Betances and Miller were pretty even keel in 2014 in terms of their performance against left and right-handed hitters. Lefties hit .161/.205/.200 against Betances and .161/.206/.261 against Miller. Meanwhile, righties hit .133/.232/.250 against Betances and .142/.245/.202 against Miller. In December, Joe Girardi said that the team could do a lot of things in regards to naming a new closer and that it could depend on "how many days in a row a guy has worked." We also know that Girardi really likes to have set roles in the bullpen, so he might not be able to handle the 8th and 9th inning sections of his binder saying "it depends."

Do you think the Yankees should pick between Betances and Miller, and if so, how should they choose? Or do you think they should work as co-closers?