Robertson as closer will be just fine

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During last night’s game, Michael Kay said something that bothered me. Granted, this isn’t something unique and it definitely happened multiple times last night. Can you believe that in 2013, we’ve still got an announcer talking about Adam Dunn through the lens of batting average? Ugh, that bothers the hell out of me. Anyway, I digress. Getting back to the point of this article, Kay said something about David Robertson that he’s said many times before, that he worries about D-Rob as the post-Mariano Rivera closer.

At its face, that’s a fair point. Going from Mo, the greatest relief pitcher ever, to anyone is going to seem like a downgrade. But Robertson is a damn fine relief pitcher and does just about everything that you want a reliever to do. He strikes lots of guys out; he gets ground balls; and he keeps the walks down. Kay, though, thinks Robertson throws too many pitches to be a closer and that this will hinder his ability to take the ball on back-to-back days and the like.… Click here to read the rest

O’s score two against Mariano, steal 2-1 victory from Yankees

Some losses are tough to get worked up about. Teams shouldn’t win 1-0 ball games. That’s a function of luck more than anything else. For that reason I don’t get too worked up over 2-1 losses when the Yankees only had a 1-0 lead. If you play with fire you’re going to get burned.

By extension, the same logic applies to those rare occurrences when Mariano Rivera can’t hold down a save. Mo is greatest of all time, but that superlative ability doesn’t make him invincible. Mo gets the job done so often that I don’t get upset when he blows a save. Other closers do it far more frequently. Mo does it once in a blue moon.When it happens you have to shrug your shoulders and move on.

That’s the summary of Sunday’s game. The Yankees took a 1-0 lead into the top of the ninth inning, handing the ball over to Rivera. Mo has been excellent this year (but his 1.29 WHIP indicates that he hasn’t been as solid as many might expect) but this was one of the days when he wasn’t.… Click here to read the rest

A quick glance at Mariano Rivera’s awesome start to the season

mariano-rivera.p1.siMariano Rivera is so consistently good that he at times gets over looked on blogs such as this one. A writer is probably more inclined to write a Mo post if he’s seeing a bad stretch of play than if he’s being his usual dominant self. I try to do at least one Mariano appreciation post a year, but this year is a little different. Mariano missed most of last year with an injury. This is his swan song season (and unlike other athletes you know he means it). For a time his unreal stretch of play was getting somewhat overlooked, but now that he’s gotten off to a perfect start in save opportunities to start the season the media hype surrounding his play has picked up. The saves are shiny and nice to have, but to admire them is to overlook all that Rivera is doing. Let’s take a closer look.

Mo’s WHIP, the most important stat for a reliever, currently sits at a tidy 0.92.… Click here to read the rest

Just one more day …

Tonight, the 2013 Major League Baseball season begins, with the Texas Rangers playing the Houston Astros. The most beautiful thing about the baseball season is that it changes how I spend my leisure time. Nothing on TV tonight? They always play baseball. Can’t think of something to do after work? Call a buddy and watch some baseball. Don’t know how to spend time on a sunny afternoon? Upper deck tickets are cheap on Stub Hub and the 4 train moves fast. 162 games plus the playoffs means something to do, something to watch and something to talk about for half the year, and in terms of weather it’s the better half of the year.

After the gift of always having something entertaining to do, my second favorite thing about the baseball season is following story lines. Most Yankee fans are upset because the team enters 2013 in the weakest state that it has been in since 2008. Not only is the team not favored to win the AL East, but many believe the team will miss the playoffs.… Click here to read the rest

Countdown to Spring Training: 34

Continuing our countdown today, we’ll be jumping into the Way Back Machine and travelling all the way to…2006. What happened with the number 34 in 2006? Well, one Mariano Rivera saved 34 games. Let’s briefly review Mo’s 2006.

He tallied a 1.80 ERA, tied (with 2010) for the fifth best mark of his career. in terms of ERA+, Mo was at 252, one of his six seasons with an ERA+ of 250 or higher. His .960 WHIP–which any pitcher would kill for–is middling for Mo’s career. His K/BB was a sparkling 5.00, but like the WHIP, it’s middle of the road for Mo. Doing his usual Mo thing, he walked just 1.3 per nine innings, the third best mark of his career (bested by 1.2 in 2011 and 0.8 in 2008). Mo held batters to a .522 OPS, including a .456 against lefties. Shocking. He started off slowly, with two losses and a 3.72 ERA in April. From May on, he was his normal self, pitching to a .542 OPS against and a 1.52 ERA.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees Finding Undervalued Pieces In Old Players

In Moneyball, Billy Beane uses a number of advanced statistics to find undervalued players on the market. His rival, the New York Yankees, don’t need Sabermetrics, since they have wagons full of cash. While that’s partially true, (the part about all the money) the Yankees were one of the first organizations to implement advanced statistics, well before the story took place in 2002. Now that the Yankees have a budget, we’re starting to see them take a step forward in finding undervalued players.

Most recently, the Yankees have signed Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Kevin Youkilis, and Ichiro Suzuki. The average age of these players is 39 years old, and for a team that just finished 2012 with the oldest average age in baseball, fans are worried about regression. That doesn’t bother Brian Cashman.

Two months ago, I took a look at the age of teams in comparison to their overall fWAR. While teams like the Nationals represented a young team that played well, older teams were much more likely to outperform younger teams.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees Re-Sign Mariano Rivera

The Yankees have agreed to re-sign closer Mariano Rivera to a one year $10 million deal plus incentives. Last season, Rivera’s year was cut short by an ACL tear in early May while he was shagging fly balls. Rivera should be ready to pitch by spring training.

Rivera turns 43 today (Happy Birthday!). Since 1980, only 19 pitchers have relived into their age 43 season. Those relievers put together a cumulated just 10 saves through the last 32 years. Rivera will be the oldest official closer since Hoyt Wilhelm finished 39 games in 1970 at the age of 47.

The Yankees have now fulfilled their major pitching needs with three one year deals. The Yankees will still likely add another starter to backup the aging Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte, as well as another reliever to backup Rivera and replace free-agent Rafael Soriano.… Click here to read the rest

Joakim Soria Seems Like A No-Brainer For The Yankees

Rafael Soriano will not accept his $13.3m qualifying offer, and the Yankees look destined to bring Mariano Rivera back for at least the 2013 season. The team will lose one great closer, and gain back the greatest closer. Still, they could have used the type of reliable setup man they lost when Soriano was promoted to closer, and Cory Wade was demoted to Triple-A.

The Mexicutioner

The outlook for next season has Rivera closing and David Robertson setting up for him in the 8th inning. With Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, they figure to compete for late inning relief work. Despite the upside of both players, they represent lottery tickets with their injury history. Guys like Boone Logan, Cody Eppley, and Clay Rapada did their part in 2012, but it’s hard to imagine any of them emerging as a high-leverage reliever. The Yankees have the opportunity to now hedge their bets on Chamberlain and Aardsma, and throw in a third lottery ticket.… Click here to read the rest

The Best Laid Plans

As the blackout last week rolled on, the conversations between my father and me inevitably rolled to baseball. One thing he kept bringing up was how this upcoming Hot Stove season would be the most challenging for Yankee GM Brian Cashman. While I think there may have been more pressure to reload after missing the playoffs in 2008, I’m more or less in league with my dad on this one. With the 2014 budget in mind, it’s hard to know just exactly what the Yankees will do this winter. We know they won’t get younger for the sake of getting younger, and that’s something I agree with. In that vein, though, the Yankees are set up to get young for 2014/2015 with the chance for some actual impact players like Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, and Mason Williams. But with regards to the Yankees’ actual plan, I’m not ready to say I know what their exact strategy will be.… Click here to read the rest