New York Yankees: Will Andrew Miller or Dellin Betances be the Closer in 2015?


The 2015 season is almost underway, and the New York Yankees still have one major question. Who will be the Closer in 2015?

This offseason, the Yankees lost closer David Robertson to the Chicago White Sox via free agency, leading to them needing to find a replacement. Joe Girardi started his managerial career in New York with the luxury of knowing he had Mariano Rivera as his closer, but in recent years with an injury to Rivera, and Rivera retiring, things have become more uncertain in the backend of the bullpen.

“In years past we had a pretty defined closer so there was never a question,” Said Girardi. “In looking at the candidates that we have, neither one of them have really closed. And we could still name a closer but it’s not on the top of my priority list.”

The Yankees did add one of the better relief pitchers available in free agency by signing Andrew Miller, but neither Miller nor All-Star Dellin Betances have much experience as a closer.

Last season, Betances was the setup man for the Yankees. He was so good that he was named to the All-Star team, and finished second in the AL in Rookie of the Year voting. In 70 appearances last season, Betances pitched 90 innings with a 5-0 record, 135 strikeouts, and an ERA of just 1.40. If the Yankees decided to go with Betances as the closer, it would be hard to argue against after a season like that.

“I don’t really care”, Betances said “I think it’s helpful to know what role you have. Not necessarily closer, but if you know you’re one of the late-inning guys, you kind of prepare yourself toward the end. Even when I was the eighth-inning guy, sometimes I came in in the sixth inning. You just have to prepare whenever your name is called and try to be ready.”

Miller is also a great option for Girardi as the possible closer in 2015. Last season, Miller pitched 62.1 innings, with a 5-5 record, 103 strikeouts, and an ERA of 2.02. Having a great left-handed pitcher in the bullpen is an important thing, but for Miller it could hurt him in a position battle at closer, as he could be more valuable taking out a great left-handed bat early in the game.

“I never got called into John Farrell‘s office and told I was the seventh-inning lefty specialist or I was the setup guy or anything,” Miller said. ”I think neither of us has been in a situation where we’ve been an anointed closer before, so it’s not like we can say that’s a comfort zone for us. When the phone rings, we’ll pitch, and until otherwise I have no problem with it.”

The growing feeling is that Girardi is not going to name a closer before Opening Day, and the Yankees will be going by committee with Miller and Betances based on in-game situations.

Next: What will the Yankees' record be in 2015?

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