With Joe Nathan agreeing to a deal with the Detroit Tigers and Brian Wilson and the Los Angeles Dodgers close to being reunited, the free-agent closers market is wearing thin. That being said, the best left on the market are Grant Balfour and Fernando Rodney. But does that mean the New York Yankees will open their wallet and try to sign one of the remaining pitchers to replace the retired Mariano Rivera?
I don’t think so—the Yankees have groomed David Robertson to be Rivera’s heir. Mo has even given Robertson his blessing, saying he believes that he has the ability to take over as the new sandman. Albeit, no one can replace the best closer (and in discussion for best pitcher) of all-time, but Robertson has the tools to be a quality save-man.
Robertson has a low 90s fastball that looks faster because it explodes out of his hand, and he has one of the longest strides to the plate of any pitcher in baseball. His curveball is also a devastating pitch with tremendous break that, if located well, can make opposing batters look silly.
His biggest problem has always been control. He is called “Houdini” by his teammates because of his ability to get out of unfathomable jams, but sometimes he gets himself into those troublesome predicaments because of his tendency to walk hitters. But Robertson is only 28-years-old and is about to be in the prime of his career. It takes time for pitchers to fully command their pitches, and I fully believe, as does Mariano, that Robertson can do this and become an All-Star caliber-closer. Heck, he’s already played in a Midsummer Classic in 2011 as a setup man; why can’t he play in future ones as the Yankees closer?