David Robertson was as seamless as anyone could be replacing Mariano Rivera as he converted 39 saves, with a 3.08 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.
But that success might make the Yankees a little uneasy since Robertson is a free agent.
Robertson is one of nine Yankees who will become free agents, and they likely want to re-sign him. But it will come at a price.
Robertson made $5.2 million last year and the price to retain him will be higher. Joe Nathan and Fernando Rodney were the big free agent closers last offseason. Nathan got $20 million over two years from the Tigers while Rodney inked a two-year, $14 million deal with the Mariners.
“I’m very fond of Robby and what he’s done here,” manager Joe Girardi said. “But Robby’s approaching a situation in his career that a lot of players look forward to. … You see where you’re at, but I’ve loved having Robby the whole time he’s been here. And that’s the hardest part for me in this game besides the losing — it’s the relationships you make with players and sometimes they leave. But that’s part of it and sometimes you have to deal with it.”
The Yankees last lost a closer in free agency when they allowed John Wetteland to sign with Texas after winning the 1996 World Series. At that time they had Mariano Rivera. Should that situation arise this year, they have Dellin Betances, who was 5-0 with a 1.40 ERA and had 135 strikeouts in 90 innings over 70 appearances. Betances broke Rivera’s franchise record for the most strikeouts in a season by a reliever.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.