Girardi hints at co-closer setup with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller

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(Presswire)
(Presswire)

With Spring Training one week away — pitchers and catchers report in one week, anyway — position battles will soon begin and the final roster spots will be sorted out. For the most part the Yankees’ 25-man roster is set — barring injury, of course — with the last bullpen spot and maybe the last bench spot up for grabs. That’s about it.

One position the Yankees have to figure out these next few weeks is the closer’s role. Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller are the two favorites for obvious reasons but the team has no real shortage of candidates. I’m sure Adam Warren or David Carpenter could close no problem if needed. Finding a closer in Spring Training isn’t really the issue. Joe Girardi and his staff just need to actually pick someone to do it.

For what’s it’s worth, both Miller and Betances have said the right things when asked about the closer’s job this offseason. “I’ve never been a closer so it’s not like I’m building a resume. I’m not worried about that kind of thing,” said Miller on the MLB Trade Rumors podcast earlier this week. “I think we’ve all seen the value of relievers getting outs in those sixth, seventh and eighth innings now … I just want to be part of a good team and I think that flexibility opens more windows and more doors for me.”

Betances, meanwhile, recently told Mike Vorkunov he hasn’t really thought about being the closer and is just going to focus on getting outs. “At times I think the middle innings – the seventh, eighth inning – sometimes you come in to a tough situation, bases loaded, two guys on, when the game is on the line. Even if you pitch one inning, sometimes you face the two-three-four hitters, sometimes that’s harder at times,” he said. “I think the ninth inning you put pressure on yourself that’s where you tend to fail a little bit. But I’ve learned a lot from Mo and from what David Robertson did last year. It’s to take it one day at a time and to have a short memory.”

Miller and Betances are right, sometimes the seventh and eighth innings are tougher than the ninth, and that’s why Dellin was so valuable last year. He didn’t just dominate, he was able to dominate for two innings at a time if necessary. Betances got all the big outs in the middle innings. As long as Joe Girardi is able to balance winning games with keeping his righty relief ace rested and fresh — he threw 90 innings with a 1.28 average leverage index last year, which is a friggin’ ton of stressful innings — it would be awesome to see him in that role again.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

“I think guys like to know their roles, so I think if we can iron it out, I think it would be a good thing to do,” said Girardi to Bryan Hoch recently. “But I think you can also create an atmosphere where you say, ‘You know what, guys? I’ll prepare you every day in a sense of what I think is going to happen, and here are your matchups, the guys that I’m probably going to bring you in against.'”

That’s a pretty interesting answer from Girardi, who seems to suggest he’s open to trying some sort of co-closer situation, presumably with Miller facing the tough lefties and Betances facing the tough righties in whatever inning that may be. I floated the idea of a co-closer setup last month when discussing the ninth inning and noted Girardi likes to have defined roles. He’s shown that since he was hired back in 2008. Perhaps now he’s softened on that stance.

The only team to even try a co-closer setup in the last decade or so was the 2009 Braves, who had lefty Mike Gonzalez and righty Rafael Soriano. With Miller and Betances, the Yankees clearly have the righty personnel to try something similar. I love the idea, it’s outside the box and puts everyone in the best position to succeed, but something like this isn’t as easy to put into practice as it may seem. Hopefully the Yankees and Girardi can pull it off.

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  • Ewing33

    Nice article, Mike. Are pigs flying and will the Yanks actually use their bullpen in the most optimal way? There seems to be hope.

    • SweetSpot

      One of Girardi’s strengths is bullpen management. Wouldn’t you agree?

      • Ewing33

        Yea, compared to the rest of baseball. Not compared to how good it could be if they got rid of set roles. Which looks like it is happening.

    • LiamInAlbany

      Are you implying that bullpen management was a weakness of the team?

    • Moncada’s Codpiece

      As opposed to….?

  • Dos Luises

    Is it true Joe G. reads this blog?

    • Moncada’s Codpiece

      I have it on good authority that he comments here under the name “Bertin.”

    • Brazen-NYY

      Yes..He is Big Dan.

      • SweetSpot

        I knew it!!!

      • lightSABR

        Eddard is clearly Hank Steinbrenner. But who’s BGT?

        • Moncada’s Codpiece

          Levine.

          • lightSABR

            Not buying it. BGT’s too coherent. Remember Levine’s emails with A-Rod?

            • Moncada’s Codpiece

              Maybe it’s Levine when he’s off his quaaludes.

              • lightSABR

                Can’t be. BGT posts more than twice a year.

  • SweetSpot

    Unless one guy stands out like Mo who made the decision for you, I always thought picking a closer made little sense if you have multiple guys that can get the job done. I understand the concept that pitchers like to know what their role is, maybe, well, maybe it’s not important. They’re pros and I think they should and will do what’s asked of them and be ready to warm up and get in the game when called upon. Having Betances and Miller is a great asset and mixing and matching based on rest and match-ups makes really good sense to me.

    • LiamInAlbany

      I think the whole thing with set innings as roles for pitchers just has to do with routine. You’ll always be more comfortable knowing what’s coming to you, instead of going into each game completely uncertain what and when you will have to perform.

      I get what you mean that they are pros, and yes you’re right they should be able to pitch when called upon. I’m sure most of them probably are capable of that. I just think it puts their minds at rest when they know they’re pitching the 6th,7th,8th, etc. They’re pros, but I’m sure they get nervous too and having a routine may help some.

      Having Betances and Miller, though, as you said, is a great asset for mixing and matching because they’ve shown they can both dominate at any point in the game.

      • SweetSpot

        Good post. Let’s say Betances pitches on two-consecutive days – you can go to Miller without missing a beat on day three rather than asking a lesser relief pitcher to get the job done. Big asset I think. Maybe!

  • ropeadope1

    With Miller and Betances, the Yankees clearly have the righty personnel to try something similar (co-closers).

    But not the lefty personnel? I prefer they declare one closer and one setup guy.. How else are we supposed to make our fantasy selections?

    • Moncada’s Codpiece

      GAHH!!! I hadn’t even considered this.
      New fear of the day, indeed.

    • D$

      Co-closer means that closers can be used every day. And since the Yanks are going to win every game next year, you can go with two sleeper closer candidates and get a combined 162 saves, and 250 strikeouts….

  • captainmike

    it has been my idea all along that they each be 2 inning closers
    that way they are not coming in all the time for 1 inning which is more stress than less often 2 inning stints.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      IT WAS HIS IDEA.

      • captainmike

        I don’t like CYBERBULLIES
        SO GO JUMP IN A LAKE
        I THOUGHT OF THIS A LONG TIME AGO

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          IT’S TOO COLD

  • Preston

    No way, everybody has told me Joe G is to inflexible for this. Can’t accept contradictory evidence.

  • Nettles>Headley

    Miller got paid the big bucks, he should close. No questions asked, next article please

  • disqus_SYUi2KdNZk

    Stop the presses. Just ran into Brett Gardner with his little son at Miami airport. I asked him if we’ll win some games this year. He said if the pitching holds up. Can’t argue with that. I wished him good luck. Vacation star moment.

    • Moncada’s Codpiece

      You saw it here first. Gardner predicts the Yankees will be at least 2-160 this year.

    • HoopDreams

      Did the grittiness rub off on you

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Did you trade him?

    • Centaur Hips

      Miami? Sounds like he’s recruiting Cubans.

      • blake

        secret operative sent by BigDan

  • Moncada’s Codpiece

    What does our master suggest?

    http://ladylovespinstripes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/joe-girardi-binder-350×215.jpg

    (pulls the pin on this grenade)

  • blake

    probably doesn’t matter much to Miller because he’s gonna get paid the same either way…..but for Betances it could cost him millions if he’s not closing

    • SweetSpot

      I don’t know if that would be true in his case. If he keeps performing the same way he’ll get paid accordingly. Rarified air. Can close is the same as does close in his case.

      • blake

        the way the arbitration comps and stuff go right now…..closers get paid a lot more than set up guys do. It’s not free agency…..

        • SweetSpot

          I know; that’s been true in the past. It might still be but I’m not so sure it would in Betances case. There’s discretion on the part of the arbitrator if it goes there? I’m not that familiar with arb nuances.

          • blake

            one day it’ll probably be that it doesn’t matter as much…..but right now the difference in 35 saves and 35 holds or whatever in arbitration is a lot of money in most cases.

            • SweetSpot

              If Betances keeps outperforming like he did last year; the Yankees would be dumb to not pay him. We’ll see.

              • blake

                they’d be dumb to pay him before they have to though…..

                • 86w183

                  I know Andrew and spoke with him about this after he signed. He told me they definitely discussed the possibility of both guys closing games depending on circumstances. (it was made pretty clear Robertson would not be back)

                  Betances will make a lot of money if he stays healthy, closer or not. Miller just got a bunch and he’s not been a closer. It’s true closers get the bigger bucks — see Robertson versus Miller — but it’s not like dominant set up men don’t cash in too.

                  • blake

                    first that’s cool that you know Miller (a good Tarheel)…..Betances has 5 more years before he’s a FA though…..if he made it to free agency healthy and was still as good as he is now then sure….he’ll get paid……but for a guy like him that came up late…..it’s nice to maximize what you make in the arbitration years when you’re younger…..because it could all go south any minute.

                    Greg Holland is a great example…..he just got 8.25 million for 2015…..no way he gets anywhere close to that if Wade Davis or someone else is closing for the Royals.

                    • 86w183

                      that’s true.

                      I still think we will see both guys save 20-30 games. Andrew has ZERO ego where that issue is concerned. He really wants to finish ahead of Boston and Baltimore in the standings.

                      Only other Yankee I ever knew personally was Mike Stanley.

                    • blake

                      I’d be fine with whatever too if I just got paid like 40 million bucks!

                • SweetSpot

                  When the time comes, arb, free agency.

                  • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

                    Maybe they’ll buy out his arb years and let him close. He’d probably take a potential paycut in arbitration to get those guaranteed dollars.

                    • SweetSpot

                      What a career he could have if he stays healthy. Yes, he proved he can pitch multiple innings but I would be really careful with him.

          • http://batman-news.com/ Thunderfingers

            The arbitrator picks from the 2 numbers submitted (player’s number and team’s number) based on the arguments presented by each side. I’d think Betances could make a special case for himself, but it’s still unlikely that the Yankees even go to arbitration, as they haven’t since Wang, I think.

      • LiamInAlbany

        If Betances starts to rack up more saves, he will receive more $ in arbitration

    • I talked to Barzini

      Which is why, all things being equal, Miller should close.

      • Guest

        If Betances starts to rack up saves, he will start to receive more $ in arbitration

        • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

          Exactly why having Miller close instead is better.

        • Mandy Stankiewicz

          It won’t matter if the Yankees are planning on giving him a pre-arb extension if he shows he’s every bit of the pitcher he was in 2014 ;)

    • D$

      Fangraphs had this article that I read this morning (it may have been linked to in the daily email from RAB). It talks about Yankee spending patterns, but there was an interesting line talking about the future:

      “Teixeira’s, Sabathia’s, and Beltran’s contracts are expiring after the 2016 season. That’s a lot of relief right there, but there’s still $115.6M committed towards the 2017 Yankees (and that’s before considering things like Dellin Betances‘ first year of arbitration) and, well, that seems like a lot of money to owe before the start of a spree.”

      It’d be nice to keep Betances more cost-controlled by keeping him out of the closer role…though sucks for him (compensation wise).

      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/yankees-spend-modestly-in-free-agency-just-like-usual/

      • blake

        yea….kinda why I don’t see them making him the full time closer. It’s a sneaky way to save some money. For Betances…..I just hope he doesn’t get hurt because it would really suck for him to dominate for like 4 years…..not get paid that much in arbitration because he’s not closing….and then get hurt and never get his big pay day in free agency.

    • Mayan Brickann

      Thinking out loud here a bit. What if Betances were to basically repeat his 2014 season in 2015 and 2016? One could very easily argue that those 3 seasons would be better than Kimbrel’s 1st three seasons. Kimbrel’s 1st 3 seasons led the Braves to give him a contract that buys out his arb years at $7M, $9M, and $11M. It also buys out one FA season with an option on another. The only difference between Betances and Kimbrel (besides age) would be the saves. What kind of arb numbers could you see Betances getting with continued greatness, but no saves?

      • Centaur Hips

        Don’t know but it would probably still be less than Kimbrel. From what I’ve heard about arb cases they go off of saves, wins, etc.

        • Mayan Brickann

          That’s what puzzles me. In the sabermetric age, why do shit stats like wins, and REALLY shit stats like saves, continue to play such a significant role in determining salary?

          • Centaur Hips

            I don’t know the answer. But I’m assuming it would be something like that’s the way it’s always been.

          • 86w183

            I agree saves is a terrible stats, but wins is not….. not for a starting pitcher anyway. To get a win you have to give at least five reasonably decent innings and give your team a chance to win. There’s value in those things. It’s not the best measure, for sure, but it does measure something of value.

            • Centaur Hips

              I don’t see the decent part anywhere in the requirement. “chance to win” has got to be the biggest cliche ever. It measures the teams offense just as much as the starter and also can be influenced by the defense and pen.

            • Mayan Brickann

              Meh. Guy who pitches 7 innings of one run ball in a 2-1 loss helped his team a lot more than the guy who gave 4 runs in 5 innings of a 14-5 win.

              • 86w183

                True, but the guy who pitches 7 innings of one run ball every time out (1.29 ERA) is almost certainly gonna win more games than the guy with 7.20 ERA.

                • Centaur Hips

                  Then why not just look at ERA? That’s what is being more fairly measured.

                  • Wave Your Hat

                    ERA is so last century.

                    • Centaur Hips

                      Still way better than wins, and for some cases/pitchers better than FIP.

            • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

              It’s an alright measure, but it shouldn’t be something that’s getting you paid more money. For every beautiful start, there’s also those 4-5 run games that are bad for 5 innings, but the offense scores 6 and picks up the win for the starter.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              I think the problem that keeps on coming up is this:

              All stats have value. Wins mean something. They just don’t mean nearly as much as has been historically prescribed upon them. We’re not looking to chuck them in the toilet, though.

              • Moncada’s Codpiece

                Case in point; Felix Hernandez winning the Cy Young a few years back with a 13-12 record. He had to be excellent to net 13 wins for that putrid Mariners team.

                • Centaur Hips

                  Cliff Lee getting barely any wins a couple of years ago is another good example.

                • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

                  I’m sure there were other instances of 20 win pitchers who didn’t deserve it over a guy with better stats other than wins and losses.

                  • Moncada’s Codpiece

                    Definitely. Get to a nice round number and other things fall by the wayside, often times.

              • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

                Yeah, exactly that. Not the most important stat, but wins are not completely unimportant. Just it’s unrealistic when someone puts such a huge weight on wins and losses.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  Right, but there’s such defensive with the fanbase out there that they read others trying to put stats like wins and saved in their rightful place and only want to hear that we want to rid the world of them.

                  • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

                    I always look at the wins stat, because sometimes it can be a good indicator. The 2014 Yankees, their offense was terrible. Wins on that team would definitely be more impressive due to the run support.

                    And looking at saves/chances at saves is also a good stat to look at, so I don’t think any of us want those gone, just less looked upon as the big picture of a pitcher.

                  • Farewell Mo and Jeet

                    The sabermetric people take things too far the other direction sometimes.

                    • Jim Is Bored

                      Both sides take things too far sometimes. All people in any discussion take things too far sometimes.

                    • Jorge Steinbrenner

                      I think the reader needs to be better able to distinguish intellectual exercise from practical reality. There’s no possible universe in which MLB stops counting wins or saves, yet I’d consider it a solid intellectual exercise if someone attempts to prove how little they may actually reflect in reality.

              • Jim Is Bored

                I should have read further down.

          • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

            There’s still a lot of people who think wins and saves are important stats. If you ask a casual baseball fan, they’d be like “Saves and wins are absolutely important”

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              …and GWRBIs.

              • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

                Don’t forget the people who bashed A-Rod for his awful postseason play and thought he was killing the team despite being a huge reason why the Yankees even made it there in the first place. (Pretty much switch A-Rod with any player)

                • Centaur Hips

                  There are advanced stat guys who do believe in some form of clutch though. I don’t dismiss it myself.

                  • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

                    Yeah, but it’s a bit too small of sample sizes sometimes. I wouldn’t put huge value in it if you do believe in such a thing and I do a bit, but I don’t think it’s a big deal.

                    • Centaur Hips

                      Agree.

                  • Jim Is Bored

                    Clutch is more “Performing how you usually do, even in crunch time” than “Performing better than you usually do, in crunch time”.

            • Jim Is Bored

              I think Wins can be important in context. Very specific context. As any stat can be, I guess.

              I mean at the extreme, you have a 20 game winner or a 4 game winner, each of whom threw 200 innings. Knowing how many games they won is better than having no info at all, if you had to pick one.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Because we all spent too long staring at the backs of 1982 Topps cards.

          • blake

            probably because it’s easier for the lawyers to go by that……

          • Centaur Hips

            http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/walking-through-ben-reveres-19-assists/

            If you look through this you’ll never look at outfield assists again.

            • Mayan Brickann

              Never have anyway. Truth has generally been the same. When in doubt, runners will run on bad arms, thus creating more opportunity for assists. When in doubt, runners will hold on good arms.

      • blake

        There really isn’t a ton of comps for this….because in the past if you had a guy like that the team made them the closer pretty quickly. So it’s hard to say……the numbers would be less for sure without the saves…..how much less would probably depend on how the arbitrators progressed with their appreciation of non-traditional stats and such. I think the arbitration process currently is still pretty dominated by old school statistics…..that’s how comps are made.

  • HoopDreams

    The Yankee fan DNA in me wants to see Betances close, but Miller would be fine too. “Unleash the beast” Im gonna have fun with that this year

  • Centaur Hips

    But they don’t even have a 1 proven closer! Someone needs the experience in the 9th inning and get all the savez!!!

    • disqus_mY542gpTDo

      You blind cat Bestances closed some games last year he’s the man

      • The Original Drew

        I really hope we start calling Dellen “Bestances” from now on.

        • Centaur Hips

          Doesn’t really flow well. I’ll stick w/ Dealin’ Dellin

        • Brazen-NYY

          Dellen BestChances…

        • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

          He’s the Bestances closer there ever was!

      • Centaur Hips

        Sarcasm.

        • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

          Sarcasm? What the hell is that?

  • blake

    I do think there probably is something to the fact that players like to settle in to set roles…..we always assume that guys would pitch the same no matter what but it’s hard to know for sure that’s true. The Yanks have done a really good job with their bullpen the last 2 years…..probably why they won more games than they should have in 2013 and 2014.

    Would an ideal bullpen strategy where you basically use whoever makes more sense that day outweigh the performance of setting guys into roles and letting them work? I don’t know…..but they seem to have a pretty good handle on how to handle the pen.

    • Ewing33

      I think a far larger problem than set roles is how long can you really expect Betances to pitch 90 innings like last year. A lot of his value came from how much he pitched and he probably won’t pitch as well as he did last year. He was insane last year. The bullpen is so stacked, that hopefully this won’t be an issue regardless of roles though.

  • disqus_mY542gpTDo

    I’ll put Bestances to close Miller set up, you can’t use 2 closers you will burn the arms

    • LiamInAlbany

      How so?

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        In his scenario, they both pitch simultaneously.

        It’ll burn out their arms, but it would also confuse the shit out of hitters.

        • D$

          Or we could have Pat Venditte throw with both arms at once.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            The physics of that would be mind-boggling. Try to those as hard as you can from both arms simultaneously for a second.

            This. Needs to happen.

    • D$

      You don’t burn arms any different than having no closer.

      Or one closer for that matter…

    • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

      I’d rather Miller closing to keep the arbitration costs down. I get the idea that Betances can be the next Mariano and all that, but I don’t think it’s worth it to rush him into the closer’s role.

  • Farewell Mo and Jeet

    Since neither Betances or Miller has any significant platoon splits, I think having co-closers is pretty much unnecessary as both can be used pretty much interchangeably. Obviously if one of them was unavailable for a particular game, the other could close but IMO, to split saves between the 2 is pretty unnecessary.

    If they really wanted to think outside the box and make Warren or someone else primary closer and use Miller and Betances for high leverage and/or multiple innings before the 9th, that would be something I’d love to see.

    • Ewing33

      Yea, but the batters they are set to face might have significant platoon splits, and many do.

      • Centaur Hips

        Yeah that would be the most effective way to use them but when you have 2 RPs that good it hardly matters. The important thing is to keep them well rested so they can face as many batters as possible without wearing down and hopefully are used in the highest leverage spots.

        • Ewing33

          I agree that keeping them well rested is probably more important than any roles this year because the pen is absolutely stacked.

      • Jim Is Bored

        Bingo

  • pfoj

    Give them the 7th and 8th. Who closes then?
    Three words. Mariano Rivera comeback.

    • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

      If only we had this a couple years ago. On a fully rested day, imagine a 4,5 Miller, 6-7 Betances, 8,9 Rivera or 7-8-9 or 5,6 – 7,8 – Rivera 9th. Lot’s of fun that would be.

  • Wave Your Hat

    Personally, I’d use the one with the best match-up in the particular circuimstances in the high leverage situation, and the other one to close.

    • blake

      yea I think that’s the ideal thing to do in a vacuum….I do wonder though if we can just assume that the performance would be the same? A lot of managers apparently think that the set routine/roles promote better performance which outweighs everything else…..I don’t know the answer

      • Wave Your Hat

        Yeah, I guess. But I sometimes wonder if managers like the set routines because it keeps them from being second-guessed later.

        • blake

          I absolutely think that’s probably a factor…..going by the tried and true formula certainly opens yourself up to less of that. I do think baseball fans are evolving though to understand more about this stuff…..Joe Madden kinda paved the way to think about things differently. 10 years from now it might be different.

      • Ewing33

        Betances has clearly already proved last year that he is able to get going whenever the need arises. I’m not sure how Miller was really used last year.

        • 86w183

          Miller appeared in 73 games and threw 62 1/3 innings. Only seven times did he pitch more than an inning.

          Betances by comparison appeared in 70 games, but threw 90 innings. He pitched more than an inning 34 times.

          I’d bet Miller has more longer outings and Betances fewer ones.

          • blake

            Yea I don’t know but I highly doubt they throw betances that many innings again

      • Havok9120

        While the managers do seem fairly united on that matter, it should be noted that the players apparently agree.

  • Mayan Brickann

    I don’t think the “defined role” is as much a Girardi thing as it is a relief pitcher thing. Girardi is no more rigid in that regard than 90% of MLB managers. I think defined roles are more important to the pitchers than to the managers. Creatures of habit and all that.

    • Havok9120

      That’s certainly how it seems. Players are very consistent in saying that they prefer knowing what they’ll be doing from day to day.

  • CashmanNinja

    I’m fine with this co-closer thing. It’s not like they’re usurping Mo from the role or anything. If he were still on the team then I’d say absolutely no way in hell they could even think of doing this, but it’s a new era. Having no defined closer could work out in our favor because it really helps out with match ups. And let’s face it…even if you absolutely hate Girardi…he’s pretty damn good with the whole bullpen matchup thing. I would trust him 100% with this because there is a very sound argument for why it would be best for the team. Sometimes the best hitters are in the 8th inning and sometimes one guy may have bad #’s against 1 or 2 guys coming up in the order. I can see it working and also see how it can benefit everyone.

  • blake

    Scenario 1: Yanks up 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th at Fenway. Pedroia, Ortiz, Hanley are coming up. Close Miller
    Scenario 2: Yanks up 4-2 in the Top of the 9th at YS against Detroit and Miggy is up 3rd. Close Betances.
    Scenario 3. Yanks are up 6-3 in Houston and Astros are coming up. Close Carpenter.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      In all scenarios, close….

      • blake

        if we had a Cuban closer…..

        • D$

          This is why we need to sign Moncada. We can convert him to a closer and that way we don’t even have to argue about Betances or Miller.

          Problem solved!

          • Centaur Hips

            Nah we can just trade Gardner for Chapman.

            • lightSABR

              Get realistic. Chapman, Cueto, Votto, and $200mm.

              • Centaur Hips

                I should of asked for Bertin’s help first.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  “I don’t think you’re Cuban, Mr. Papelbon. How did you get here? Where’s that 60 million I had lying around? Quit telling those kids in section 203 to shut up…”

              • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

                And Yankees send A-Rod.

          • blake

            bigdan has a cuban closer already on the radar…..probably multiple ones.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              And by “radar,” you mean…

            • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

              Really on his radar or just a cause of his “Random Cuban” spin?

          • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

            Convert? He’s already a utility SP-MR-CL-IF-OF-Manager

            • D$

              I heard he’d make a great GM too.

            • Moncada’s Codpiece

              He’s definitely a pitcher. Not a catcher.

              • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

                Your scouting senses are wrong, Moncada is everywhere!

              • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

                Your scouting senses are wrong, Moncada is everywhere!

    • HoopDreams

      Yankees up 6-3 in Tampa, close Esmil Rogers

    • lightSABR

      Remember Betances embarrassing Miggy with the 100 mph heater last year?

      • HoopDreams

        Best thing about that entire AB, I don’t think Betances threw one pitch in the zone

      • blake

        yea that certainly played into my using Betances there…..that was a highlight of 2014 for sure…..other than Jeter’s final AB at the stadium maybe my favorite moment of the entire 2014 season.

        • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

          I thought Headley’s two walk-offs, especially the homer against Boston were top 5 in the highlights. I think Young might have had a walk-off 3-run shot too, if I’m not mistaken. Another amazing moment this season.

    • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

      Sounds good to me. That’s exactly how I’d go if I wanted to go dual-closer.

    • Cogen777

      All the same. I mean, Betances, Miller and Carpenter are pretty much two of a kind.

  • ScottinSJ

    I don’t worry much about the bullpen. There’s enough talent there for the group to be top-tier. I don’t think Girardi can go wrong with either Miller or Betances.

    Now, if only they had an offense and a rotation that even came close to rivaling the bullpen as a strength. Those areas are where Girardi’s headaches and heartaches will come from.

  • bernbabybern

    If Girardi actually shows this mental flexibility my fan confidence vote will go up one point. I think he’s a smart guy, just a bit too rigid.

  • mitch

    Last year Betances pitched during the biggest spots between the 6th and 8th inning. I don’t see how that’s any more of a defined role than pitching against the toughest righties late in the game. Same thing with Miller. Whether Girardi will go through with it is yet to be seen, but I don’t think them being comfortable with that sort of plan will be an issue.

  • Bigdan

    I’d like to see the Yanks do something creative with the bullpen this season. For me, creative means designating a 9th inning guy who’s not Betances or Miller. That would allow both pitchers to do what they’ve done best and potentially tag team the 7th and 8th innings. Maybe even the 6th.

    The problem with that approach is it opens the manager up to significant criticism if it goes wrong. The first time Warren or Carpenter blow a save Girardi will have to answer questions has to why he didn’t use his best relief pitchers to close the game. I think part of the reason closers have risen to such prominence over the last 30 years is it allows the manager to escape criticism. Mechanically using your closer in save situations takes decision-making away from the manager. Less decision-making, less opportunity to criticize and second guess.

    But I do hope the Yanks can find an even bigger role for their bullpen this year than in the past. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Yankee team with more bullpen options. It the team contends, the bullpen is likely to be the primary reason. Last year Girardi almost never used the backend guys if the Yanks were behind by more than a couple of runs. Often the poor quality of the front end guys resulted in a bigger loss and I think that had a lot to do with the Yanks negative run differential. The front end guys should be much stronger this season. Now I’m not sure that will lead to more wins because the offense will need to be strong enough to engineer a comeback but it certainly can’t hurt.

    • Mayan Brickann

      The problem with that approach is it opens the manager up to significant criticism if it goes wrong.

      ===================

      Well, that and it’s dumb.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      We’ve become a bad eddard remake, folks.

      • HoopDreams

        Hell even Eddard is slipping lately, must be something in the water

        • Centaur Hips

          BGT has infected us all.

        • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

          Eddard’s return of terribleness has got me a bit down, I’ll admit.

      • Mandy Stankiewicz

        No, he’s always been this awful.

  • D$

    Though this conversation is fun to have because well…there’s still at least 3 weeks until even ST starts, its really useless. Betances and Miller were basically the same pitcher last year (Ks, WHIP, ERA, etc). The only reason Miller got paid and Betances didn’t was because he was a free agent and Bentances wasn’t. Thems the breaks. While I do agree there is an advantage in having a set lock down closer (I lived it for most of my life so far with Mo) let’s be honest – the reason that advantage exists is because you’re effectively shortening the game. By playing the hands you’re dealt on a game-by-game basis – match ups, most rested, best available against bets hitters, etc – then you’re accomplishing the same end goal: effectively shortening the game.

    • Wave Your Hat

      Uh, ST starts next week…

      • D$

        Pitchers and catcher report next week. Its the most anticlimactic date of the baseball season. Everyone waits for it then…nothing happens for 2 weeks. We don’t get to see a game until 3/3

        • Wave Your Hat

          Well, you said ST, not games.

          • D$

            Touche. Regardless – the starting date of ST was not the purpose of my comment…

            • Wave Your Hat

              Yeah, I didn’t disagree with your comment. But I am happy ST starts next week. Real baseball, turn off the hot stove.

      • Mayan Brickann

        Unpopular position alert: I despise spring training. It’s 2-3 weeks too long, boring as hell, and aside from answering some health questions, you almost always learn nothing from it.

        • Centaur Hips

          The first couple of weeks are great. Baseball is back, see some prospects, make sure everyone looks ok and is healthy, after that… yeah get the reg season going.

        • lightSABR

          I enjoy it once games start. The pleasure of watching baseball without that awful “tonight might be the difference between making and missing the playoffs” feeling that I’ve had, oh, basically April through August of the last two seasons.

        • RetroRob

          I enjoy when it arrives, but agree if feels like it’s too long. By the third week in March I’m itching for the games to begin.

  • RetroRob

    I won’t read too much into those words yet. He’s just not ready to pick a closer, so he’s leaving all options open, but I suspect one of the two will be the closer. If not, I just hope that they’re used properly, and by that not as closers coming into pitch the 9th inning on alternating days. That could be a disaster as they’d lose having one or both of them to come in as early as the 7th inning.

    • lightSABR

      Killjoy. Quit being reasonable. We’re dreaming here.

      • RetroRob

        I’d love for them to try it, and they have a situation compared to many teams where they could do it. Two potentially dominant arms, with neither the belief they are owed the closer’s role. Maybe they’ll surprise me, but I think he settles on one of them as a closer.

    • Scranton Caddy Shacks 15

      Do you really think Girardi is going to try to minimize the IP of his best RPs?

      • RetroRob

        Take care, Ted.

        • Scranton Caddy Shacks 15

          Take care?

          What leads you to believe that there is any chance Girardi would simply alternate between the two? The idea completely contradicts his quote about using them both in particular types of situations…

  • Scranton Caddy Shacks 15

    I don’t know how much of a change this is. It’s treated like a big change (and isn’t really done), but I think that’s mostly because of the artificial construct of the save and the lack of two top RPs in most BPs. In reality, the idea of a set role doesn’t mean a set inning. It just means a feeling for when you’ll be used timing and situation wise. Prepping for the 8th or 9th inning isn’t a whole lot different physically and really shouldn’t be emotionally (though maybe for some it is). Prepping for one out in the 9th or 2 IP starting in the 5th is a lot different.

    And can we PLEASE stop perpetuating this idea that a closer can only pitch one inning??? A closer can come into the 8th inning and stay through the 9th just as easily as a top setup guy can come into the 7th and stay through the 8th. Whether a guy can go more than one IP has to do with his stuff and conditioning.

  • Mandy Stankiewicz

    AISFM!

  • calripyankee

    I remember at about this time last year, many Yankee fans were in full fledged panic-mode at the thought of D Robertson closing.. This year the Yanks have at least two players capable of filling that role..

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I’d disagree that many Yankee fans were in panic mode. I think some were, and they were being pretty unreasonable at the time.

      • Moncada’s Codpiece

        There was much more debate about Sizemore, Anna, and the rest.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Oh, I remember the “But he does not know how to do the close!” and “He fell flat on his face because he doesn’t have the fire in the belly” stuff. It just was from the same people who’ll likely find new imaginary boogeyman throughout this season as well. That’s not “many.”

          • Moncada’s Codpiece

            Fire in the belly. The classic. I think they can afford acid reflux medication.

    • RetroRob

      Some were. You’ll see overreactions from some fans on all moves. I really don’t worry too much about the Yankees bullpen under Girardi/Cashman. I’ll have questions about some moves or where they’re heading, but have confidence they’ll figure it out. D-Rob was never a worry on my side.

  • AllPraiseBeToMo

    Let someone like Carpenter close it out and save both of these guys for the real high leverage innings.

  • LazerTown

    Let’s hope not. Miller should be closer, hands down. Making betances co-closer is going to cost you more an arbitration, with no real gain.

    • dubinsky

      why would you object to paying more for Betances services given that their value is vastly more than his salary?

  • dubinsky

    forget the co-closer idea. trade for Chapman and let him close and let Miller have the 7th and Betances the 8th.

    • rogyanks

      Seriously? We let DRod go for a couple of million and a draft pick. Now were going to trade for Chapman. Nice dream now back to reality.

      • dubinsky

        naw. I wasn’t really being serious.

        the Yankees have, at this point, amassed about enough relief pitchers for two ‘pens.