With New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera’s announcement that he will retire at the end of the season, the Yankees have some big shoes to fill. Considered by most to be the greatest closer of all time, Rivera has compiled a major league record 629 saves, helping the Yankees to win five World Series championships. He’s still leading the American League in saves at the age of 43, and he looks like he may never slow down. However, if he truly does call it quits at the end of the season, I wonder whom the Yankees will choose to replace him.
The logical choice seems to be setup man David Robertson. Robertson has been a mainstay in the Yankee bullpen since 2008, and he’s been an extremely effective bridge to Rivera in the eighth. He has a consistently low ERA (2.91 for his career), and he has an impeccable strikeout-to-walk ratio. And at only 28, Robertson can occupy the spot for many years to come.
However, the only thing that Robertson hasn’t done well is actually get saves; in his career he has five saves and nine blown saves. True, those opportunities only came when Rivera was injured. But even when Rivera went down last season, the Yankees went to Rafael Soriano rather than David Robertson. Does this mean that they have little faith in him? if so, who will they turn to?
How about Preston Claiborne? The 25-year-old rookie has been impressive early for the Yankees, allowing only one run in 13 appearances. In addition, he’s shown excellent control, posting 14 strikeouts and no walks. However, few of Claiborne’s appearances have been with the game on the line, and he’s yet to even get a save opportunity, let alone a save itself.
It might be a tough decision for the Yankees moving forward, but whether they chose David Robertson or Preston Claiborne, I think they’ll be in good shape.