Mariano Rivera: 10 Pitchers Possible Replacements as Yankees Closer

Anthony LifrieriContributor ISeptember 21, 2011

Mariano Rivera: 10 Pitchers Possible Replacements as Yankees Closer

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    Right now, there are three certainties in life: death, taxes and Mariano Rivera.

    Rivera is nothing short of spectacular, and in the opinion of many, the best pitcher ever.

    He still dominates after 15 years, using his devastating cutter and pinpoint control to baffle opposing hitters and saws more bats than a french lumberjack.

    Unfortunately, Mo won't be around forever.

    He'll have to retire to be with his family or maybe mother nature will finally catch up with him.

    So while Yankee fans dread the day Rivera leaves, we look forward to the future.

    Assuming Rivera retires when his contract expires after next season, here is a list of possible successors to the Great Rivera's closer mantle, along with the odds they have of succeeding him.

David Robertson: Even Money

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    Robertson established himself as one of the premier relievers in baseball.  

    He’s young, under team control and has brilliant stuff.

    Unfortunately, his stuff is too good for his own good and walks a lot of batters.

    Still, there’s nowhere to go but up for the young star, and he seems most likely to be the Great Rivera’s successor.

Rafael Soriano: 3-1

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    Soriano makes a ton of money and is under contract for the next two seasons.

    That being said, Yankee GM Brian Cashman never wanted him in the first place, and he’s been terrible in New York.

    However, Soriano isn’t as bad as he was this year, and should bounce back next season.

    Whether he can supplant current set-up man David Robertson remains to be seen, but he’s probably the second-favorite for the role.

Phil Hughes: 4-1

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    Hughes is something of a quagmire for the Yankees.

    He saw success as both a starter and reliever, but the constant switching between roles screwed him up and made him Joba Chamberlain 2.0.

    If Hughes goes back to the bullpen next season, he’ll probably pitch the 6th or 7th inning.

    He would have time to establish himself as the heir apparent, but inevitably, his destiny lies either in the New York rotation or out of town.

Joakim Soria: 6-1

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    Cashman has long coveted Soria because of his great stuff and status as a reliable closer.

    Soria is young and has a cheap salary, but the Royals won’t trade him for peanuts.

    If he were already under team control, he’d be 1-5 instead of 5-1.

    Still, there is a chance Cashman pulls the trigger on a deal if Robertson has a regression next year.

Joba Chamberlain: 10-1

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    Ah Joba the Hutt.

    Chamberlain’s a dilemma because he was once so talented and the clear heir-apparent to the closer role.

    Then Brian Cashman and Co. insisted on moving him to the starting rotation.

    He bounced around between starter and reliever and extinguished the lighting in a bottle he had during the Joba Rules heyday.

    He had a devastating injury, but if he can recover, he may yet regain his rookie form and blow everyone away.

Dellin Betances: 15-1

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    Betances has stuff like Chamberlain had when he came up a few years ago.

    It would translate well to the bullpen as well as give him a faster ticket to the show than in the rotation.

    Cashman would rather leave his prized prospects starters, but he seems like a great dark horse for the job, especially if he can apprentice for Rivera next season.

Manny Banuelos: 20-1

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    Banuelos could also get the nod, but is a longer shot because his stuff is not overpowering like Betances’.

    He’ll more likely than not be in the Yankee rotation in 2013 or 2014, pending on variables.

    If he can’t make it in the rotation, he will inevitably be sent to the bullpen, and there, he may work his way into being Rivera’s successor.

Jonathan Broxton: 30-1

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    Broxton has become a reclamation project, and is just the kind of cheap risk Cashman would take to help next year or 2013’s bullpen.

    The Dodgers are probably done with him, and he won’t get a closer’s job anywhere else, so if the Yanks sign him and he outperforms everyone next year, the job could be his.

Francisco Rodriguez: 50-1

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    K-Rod will probably be a free agent after next season, and he did close in New York for a while with the Mets.

    However, he’s a shell of his former self and would probably cost a lot of money.

Heath Bell: 100-1

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    Bell is probably the best pitcher on this list, but he wants to remain in San Diego.

    The Yankees would also have to shell out a ton of cash for him this offseason, and will be unlikely to do so because they will have to commit to CC Sabathia and others this offseason.

    Rafael Soriano’s bad contract also offsets any chance the Yanks have of grabbing Bell.