Let Betances Close
We knew replacing Mariano Rivera would be hard.
But we didn’t think we’d be talking about someone other than David Robertson trying to be the one to do it just a week into the season.
And yet here we are. The heir apparent came up lame Sunday with a groin strain and landed himself on the disabled list – leaving the Yankees to try and find the lesser of several bullpen evils. Manager Joe Girardi seems to have settled on righty Shawn Kelley as the least of those evils , but is there another who should be getting the reps?
To me, the answer is yes, and takes the form of 26-year-old Dellin Betances.
Which, I understand, sounds like an absurd idea.
Certainly, asking the starter-turned-reliever to close just a week into his first season is too much to ask. And yes, the control problems that surfaced too often in his minor league career represent the kind of problems you never want from a closer, but based on stuff alone, Betances is the guy.
The 6’8 right-hander wields a fastball in the upper 90’s and a knee-buckling curve ball.
And legitimate closing careers have been built on less.
It’s a lot to ask. And he may not be ready. But louder than anyone else on the staff, his tools scream “closer.” It’s week two. Give him a chance.