We certainly know who the Yankee closer will be every year (it may be time to change the answer of that age-old question to Death, Taxes, and Mo), but since Jeff Nelson left the first time, the Yankees have auditioned a slew of right handed relievers to set up the Great Mariano and none of them seems to stick in that role for very long (don’t tell me Farnsworth – I said, “stick” not “suck”). This year may not turn out any differently, as there are several possible contenders for the role. Which of these guys will be THE guy by the end of the year? (after the jump)
Veras: He was generally the guy last year and did a decent job: 124 ERA+, but a scary +1.4 WHIP and 4.19 FIP leaves the door wide open for someone to take the job.
Bruney: is a leading contender. Staved off injuries last year to post a stellar 1.83 ERA and a k/9 of almost 9. His FIP, however, was 3.45 but he also possessed a sub 1 WHIP. Could he finally have mastered his control problems? He’ll only have just turned 27 this season, so both he and Veras may be due for prime breakout years.
Edwar Ramirez: The master of peripheral stats posted a mediocre 3.90 ERA but a tidy 1.23 WHIP and filthy 10.25 k/9. He was also decent against lefties (.256 avg against). He is almost 28 years old.
David Robertson: had an up-and-down (literally) season. For the first time, he faced hitters he couldn’t easily dominate. It seemed to rattle him for a spell, but he came back and didn’t allow an earned run in his 2nd trip up with the big club. He was still missing bats even while struggling (a 10.68 major league k/9).
Mark Melancon: 9.9 k/9 and miniscule .75 WHIP at AAA last year coming back from surgery. Yanks are very high on this kid who may be groomed to eventually inherit the closer role.
Humberto Sanchez: once an owner of a high 90s heater, but is now struggling to regain arm strength off of TJ.
Phil Hughes: Who knows? By the end of the year, if everyone’s healthy, he may be asked to take the 07 Joba role for the playoffs (mmmm, probably not).
Albaladejo: I desperately want Bob Sheppard to come back, if only to pronounce this kid’s name in that Voice of God tone he has.
Who’s going to be the man who sets up the Mariano? What do you guys think?
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