Who Should Be The Setup Man To Rivera In 2012?

The bullpen is a very important piece to any team. It helps you win games and it helps hold games to a tie when it’s one of those, “must win” games that you need to get into the playoffs. The bullpen is also good for the “mop up” games whether your team is in the lead, or whether the team is poorly behind.

Now, the Yankees have I believe the best bullpen in the Major Leagues right now, also with the greatest closer of all time named Mariano Rivera, but before Rivera can come in there needs to be a pitcher that can set him up in one of those must win games. The 8th inning role has come down to 2 men who will probably be fighting for the setup role this Spring Training; David Robertson & Rafael Soriano. They both are excellent pitchers, but who is more qualified to take the coveted position to warm up the ball for Mo?

David Robertson:

Yankees relief pitcher David Robertson

After having a mediocre 2010 season, David Robertson started the season in the bullpen as the 6th inning guy. David Robertson would soon get his chance however to star in the 8th inning position after Rafael Soriano went down with a shoulder injury. Let’s just say at the end of the year Robertson’s numbers did not disappoint. In 2011, Robertson was 4-0, had a  1.08 ERA, a 1.125 WHIP, managed to notch 100 K’s in the season all while pitching 66.2 innings. Everyone that knows Robertson understands that even he gets himself into some situations every now and again, but David Robertson is able to end an inning in dramatic fashion(3 strikeouts after loading the bases is one instance). Because of such theatrical pitching, he is known as  Houdini. If Robertson continues his stellar pitching, not only will he get the 8th inning role this year but he might get the coveted position of closer once our beloved Mariano Rivera retires.

Rafael Soriano:

Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano

Rafael Soriano was signed in the 2010 offseason to become the 8th inning man to Mariano Rivera. He was originally the closer with the Tampa Bay Rays but couldn’t continue the closing duties because of…well…Mariano Rivera. Soriano didn’t get to keep the 8th inning role for long after he obtained a shoulder injury and he didn’t get the role back even after he came back from the DL. Instead his role was the 7th inning since Joba Chamberlain was out for the rest of the season due to Tommy John Surgery and let’s just say that Soriano was…mediocre. In 39.1 IP he was 2-3, had a 4.12 ERA, a 1.297 WHIP and racked up 36 K’s. It’s not bad but would you really want someone with a 4.12 ERA attempting to pass on the ball to Mo in a tight game?

While I enjoy watching Robertson & Soriano, I would have to give the 8th inning role to David Robertson. Robertson came out like a full fledged All-Star while Soriano was either hurt or inconsistent in his appearances. Soriano could do the 7th inning role while Joba Chamberlain recuperates and nurses his arm back to pitching form but when he comes back he could be the 6th inning man.

Now it’s up for you to decide:

About Delia E.

Delia Enriquez is the managing editor of Yankees Fans Unite. She enjoys analyzing the New York Yankees whether it be their pitching, roster or their manager. You can follow her on twitter @dfiregirl4 for more tweets, analysis and opinion on the Yankees.

Posted on February 22, 2012, in Personal Opinion, Player Analysis and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. If Soriano is healthy and doesn’t opt out after this season (and why would he I don’t see anyone paying him more) I think it’s his job.

    You can’t do what Robertson does by walking so many batters as a closer.

    • Matt, first off Robertson might get his walks down between now and then. But I’d prefer they give the job to Soriano for one year 2013 anyway. The pressure on whoever replaces Mo is going to be intense. I would prefer there be a buffer between Mo and hopefully Robertson for that 1 year. It should make Robertson’s transition a lot easier.

  2. I would think Robertson, Soriano, and Joba all could close for the Yanks next year. Soriano has had experience and success closing in the East so that’s a feather in his cap. Robertson has just been unhitable the past year. Joba would be the one as a long shot in my book. Betances is not in the pitcher. If Robertson has a repeat of last year, I think the Yanks will make him the closer next year with Soriano pitching the 8th, and Joba pitching the 7th. I think that’s what the Yanks are hoping for. In reality, there is no replacement for Mo.

  3. Anyone see this news today. Makes you wonder if the Yankees have an eye towards this guy in some capacity for the 2013 season.

    Yankees Sign David Aardsma
    By Ben Nicholson-Smith [February 22 at 11:21am CST]
    The Yankees have signed 30-year-old right-hander David Aardsma, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com tweets. It’s a Major League deal worth $500K, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets. Aardsma underwent Tommy John surgery last July and won’t be ready to contribute until midway through the 2012 campaign.

    Aardsma last pitched in the Major Leagues in 2010, when he saved 31 games as the Mariners’ closer, posting a 3.44 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in 49 2/3 innings. He has a 4.20 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 in parts of six MLB seasons.

  4. If anyone gets a chance and wants to visit: jetbluepark.com

    They might enjoy the site. As you probably know that the site of the NEW Red Sox Spring training park.

  5. I agree with Wally no need to rush Robertson into the role. Let Soriano start off in it.

  6. Thought this was about Wally Matthews article that Soriano should close next year lol. Anyway still agree with him

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