Joe Girardi says the Yankees will use a closer-by-committee approach

22 Comments

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.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
1 Comment

MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.