NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees apparently aren’t completely sold on the idea of David Robertson being the closer next season. That or they would like to have pitchers with closer potential taking the mound in both the eighth and ninth innings.
According to a report in the Daily News, the Yankees are interested in veteran Joe Nathan, but in what capacity was not immediately known.
Nathan, who will turn 39 on Friday, is coming off a stellar season with Texas, going 6-2 with a 1.39 ERA and 43 saves in 67 appearances. The veteran right-hander has 341 saves and a 2.76 ERA over his 13-year career.
Many just assumed Robertson would be the heir apparent to retired legend Mariano Rivera, but Robertson told WFAN’s Sweeny Murti earlier this month the team had not said a word about about the closer role.
“It’s alright,” Robertson said on Nov. 6. “Eighth, ninth, whatever. I’m going to do whatever I can do.”
Robertson said no matter what, he’ll be helping the team “win some ballgames.” His plan is to show up to spring training healthy and ready to pitch, and whatever happens after that, well, happens.
“It doesn’t really put me on edge,” Robertson said. “Of course I’d love the opportunity, but you know what, I don’t make those decisions. My job is to play baseball and pitch — pitch when I’m supposed to pitch, whatever the situation is.”
Even without Rivera, the Yankees figure to be decent in the late innings with Robertson (5-1, 2.04 in 70 appearances) and arbitration eligible Shawn Kelley (4-2, 71 Ks in 53 1/3 innings). Left-hander Boone Logan (5-2. 3.23 in 61 appearances) is a free agent, but may return, plus the Yankees are sure to make other changes.
Adding Nathan would give the Bombers flexibility on the back end.
Despite their need to address the bullpen, the Yankees appear more inclined at this time to target big-ticket free agents. They are believed to be in serious discussions with several players, including outfielder Carlos Beltran and catcher Brian McCann, the Daily News reported.
The Yankees are also believed to be interested in shortstops Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Drew, outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, along with several starting pitchers, including Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.
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