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Hal Steinbrenner endorses David Robertson as next Yankees closer

We might finally have an answer to the closer game.


For a very long time, everyone has been guessing as to who the next Yankee closer will be. Mariano Rivera has retired and it would make perfect sense for David Robertson, one of the best relievers in baseball over the last few seasons, to take over, however no official announcement has ever been made to name him the successor. Many have taken the lack of endorsement as a sign that the team doesn't fully trust him and they will/should look for an experienced closer elsewhere.

Hal Steinbrenner has officially come out and said, though not in the clearcut words Robertson advocates have been waiting for, that the right-hander will be the closer in 2014. "'We're going to rely on [David] Robertson. I'm sure he'll do a good job for us'...Pressed whether he thought Robertson would be the team's closer, Steinbrenner said, 'I think you'll have to ask [Joe] Girardi that, but that's my understanding. He's the number one candidate. Rightfully so.'" By coming out and saying this he might not be definitely declaring Robertson the closer, but it doesn't seem like they plan on signing anyone who could take the job away.

Grant Balfour has had success, but after the Orioles backed out of an all-but-finalized deal because of concerns over his knee and wrist, it seems that adding him would be an unnecessary expenditure for a potential risk they don't have to take. The only other definite closer on the market would be Fernando Rodney, and the Yankees have never really shown much interest in him. If Joe Girardi has the ultimate decision it seems that Robertson will indeed be the closer, unless he somehow prefers Shawn Kelley or Preston Claiborne.

One possible reason for the previous silence might have been to do with Robertson's 2014 salary arbitration. Closers make more money than middle relievers, so to keep his salary down, which MLB Trade Rumors estimated to be $5.5 million, the Yankees would keep quiet on his role in order to undersell his importance to the team at an arbitration hearing. Steinbrenner coming out now just after players have filed for arbitration is some peculiar timing. Perhaps the two sides have already come to an agreement on a new deal, but it's a weird time to finally break the silence.

Hopefully the Yankees have the backend of their bullpen figured out, because they really need to work on the rest of it. The loss of Mo and Boone Logan have thrown the corps of relievers into uncertainty for the first time in years. Right now Robertson, Kelley, Adam Warren, and Claiborne have been joined by Matt Thornton, with the like of Dellin Betances, David Phelps, and Vidal Nuno in contention for the remaining spots, but it would be nice if they could add someone a little more impressive than this underwhelming bunch. Who to name their closer is the least of their problems, and always has been. They need to worry about everyone else.