The baseball Gods will have a difficult time explaining to the hierarchy why they decided to unleash their fury on this 42-year-old baseball icon.
Then again, perhaps not.
Maybe it was the baseball Gods telling Rivera it was time for him to take that dreaded walk through the valley of Yankees lore.
Whatever the reason, the Yankees have no choice at this point but to conjure life beyond this legendary human being who has conquered the baseball world with a one pitch arsenal.
“What to do now?” Yankee fans now ask, now starting down the barrel an increasingly black and blue AL East Division.
“Who could possibly fill the shoes of such a dominant figure?”
These are important questions to say the least.
Do the Yankees make David Robertson their new closer?
Some would say this would be the obvious choice. After all this 5’11”, 195-lb right-hander has certainly proven himself a reliable option at this point in the season. In 11 appearances and 11 innings pitched, Robertson has given up zero runs. He has also struck out 18 hitters, while walking just three. Robertson’s WHIP is 0.91.
What about Rafael Soriano?
Yes, there are others who say this Domincan is better fit to fill the closer spot. While not as dominant as Robertson this year, Soriano certainly has more experience. This decade-plus big league veteran has 90 saves in his career, 45 of those coming in 2010 with the Tampa Bay Rays. Soriano has a lifetime 2.85 ERA with 466 strikeouts and 142 walks (3.2 K-to-walk ratio) in 392 big league games.
Freddy Garcia? Has Joe Girardi lost his mind?
Lastly, a growing camp exists that thinks Freddy Garcia can rebuild his career by moving from starter to closer. Ok, this is just my opinion. But what a great baseball story this would be. Here comes the grand enigma of a dominant-turned-dominated hurler racing from the bullpen to salvage his career. Sure this would prove to be a long-shot. But, when push comes to shove, the Yankees have never been shy in the past about making tough decisions in the face of media scrutiny (Keeping Derek Jeter at the leadoff spot for example).
Of course the Yankees will face scrutiny no matter what their choice is to replace Rivera as the team’s closer.
Whether Robertson, Soriano, Garcia or any dark-horse candidate, the Yankees have some tough decisions to make.
Yet again Rivera’s injury could just be a sprain, a tease of sorts to give every Yankee fan a jolt. A jolt that serves to remind the same to appreciate what time they have left with the great man who conquered the baseball world with a one pitch arsenal.
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