The New York Times reported in late July that "Closers are replaceable. That sounds wrong around the Yankees, the team that won so much with Mariano Rivera." I agree with the second part of that statement but not the first. I don't think closers are replaceable; I think that closers move you closer to your goal of winning championships and replacing them is very difficult if not impossible.
Rivera himself crowned Dellin Betances as the Yankees future closer. But as the Times reports, "Rivera’s greatness came from his longevity and his extraordinary success in October." And we can't get to October this season and we haven't gotten much into the month over the past few years. So Betances has not been able to prove himself as a formidable closer, despite his early accomplishments.
For the Chicago Cubs, who were the first team to break up the three-headed monster in our bull pen, they may have just struck gold. "Chapman might throw the fastball that ends the Cubs’ 108-year drought. For all we know, he might even hit 108 miles per hour while doing it. It would rank among the most celebrated moments in baseball history." And then what? He leaves at the end of the season and perhaps makes his way back to the Yankees in 2017.
Our only notable defensive accomplishment in 2016 was the bullpen of Betances, Andrew Miller and Chapman. But having this three headed monster was not enough to make it through a season with success. But now, without the the trio, we are just treading water and buying time. As the boring days of the Yankees of 2016 slowly pass, I turn the page of the 2016 playbook and work my way to the appendices at the end. The appendices that include the trades that have happened and will happen as we grow not only our bullpen next season, but our overall team that will carry us through the post season in 2017 to the World Series.
--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist