The Yankees have been surprisingly interested in signing a closer off the free agent market, even though they already have David Robertson. It didn't seem to be a huge priority, but they were still linked to Joe Nathan at one point. Now it doesn't seem like the Yankees will focus on signing one as closers start to come off the board.
The Tigers are now close to signing Nathan, the Dodgers are in talks with Brian Wilson, the Orioles have traded Jim Johnson to the Athletics, and could be looking to sign a replacement. At this point, Grant Balfour and Joaquin Benoit might represent the best closers on the market, with Fernando Rodney, Edward Mujica, and John Axford coming in at another tier lower. With the market squeezing, prices will rise and the Yankees likely don't want to be involved unless they have extra money. That is why they are now saying they won't sign a closer unless they can't re-sign Robinson Cano.
The two might be unrelated, but seeing as how they're trying to fit their second baseman into the budget, if they are unable to sign him, that money needs to go somewhere. If they can sign Omar Infante, it will come at a fraction of the cost it would take to sign Cano, so there would be extra money lying around which the Yankees could use to improve the team somewhere else.
Now that Mariano Rivera has retired, the bullpen is definitely something that could use an improvement, but that doesn't mean they should try to replace David Robertson. Despite his lack of closing experience, since 2011, Robertson has been worth 5.9 WAR and has the lowest ERA, FIP, xFIP, and K/9 out of those still on the market. You don't spend money on a closer if you have someone like that on your team.
Even if the Yankees don't sign Cano, signing a closer isn't a good move as they could afford to upgrade elsewhere. If they really don't have anywhere to spend it, they could try signing a lesser closer-type to be Robertson's set-up man, but they shouldn't be looking to spend big money just because it happens to be burning a hole in their pocket. Remember Rafael Soriano and all his opt out clauses? That didn't end up being disastrous, but it was completely unnecessary, and if they try something like that again, it could end up being a waste of resources.
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