David Robertson replaced Mariano Rivera as the Yankees’ closer last season, but now who replaces Robertson? No one. Well … two guys, actually.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced that he’ll begin the season without a set closer, instead splitting the ninth-inning duties between right-hander Dellin Betances and left-hander Andrew Miller based on matchups and game situations.
Betances has struggled at times this spring, showing diminished velocity and shaky command, so that may have played a part in Girardi’s decision. Or maybe he’s just a believer in the closer role being less about mystique and more about getting three outs with a lead of 1-3 runs. In which case, why not bring in Miller when a couple good left-handed hitters are due up and why not use Betances when a couple good right-handed hitters are batting next? Leads can be coughed up and games can be lost in the seventh and eighth innings, too.
We’ll see how last it lasts, of course. Generally speaking teams that have gone with a closer-by-committee approach–or just not named an official closer, however you want to phrase the decision–have changed their minds fairly quickly if there are any bumps in the road. And you can be certain some Yankees fans and New York media members will be on code red, clamoring for an official closer, at the first sign of trouble.
Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger was named the 2019 National League Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers Associated of America. He received 19 of 30 first-place votes.
Bellinger, 24, was the NL Rookie of the Year two years ago and is now the MVP. In 2019, he hit .305/.406/.629 with 47 home runs, 115 RBI, 121 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases. Among qualified position players in the NL, Bellinger and Christian Yelich tied in Wins Above Replacement at 7.8, according to FanGraphs. Bellinger’s strong year helped the Dodgers win a franchise record 106 games, though they were stopped short in the NLDS by the eventual world champion Nationals.
Bellinger is the first Dodger to win the award since Clayton Kershaw in 2014. He also joins Kirk Gibson, Steve Garvey, Sandy Koufax, and Maury Wills to win the award since the team moved to Los Angeles. Bellinger is overall the 13th Dodger to be named the MVP. He is the 18th NL player to win both a Rookie of the Year Award and an MVP award.
Yelich finished in second place and Anthony Rendon finished in third place. They were followed by Ketel Marte, Ronald Acuña Jr., Nolan Arenado, and Pete Alonso. Also receiving votes were Freddie Freeman, Juan Soto, Jacob deGrom, Josh Donaldson, Trevor Story, Jack Flaherty, J.T. Realmuto, Yasmani Grandal, Max Muncy, Stephen Strasburg, Eugenio Suárez, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong, Kevin Pillar, and Max Scherzer.