Yankees Could Give 9th To Betances If Retaining D-Rob Proves Too Pricey

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The $15.3 million qualifying offer rejected by David Robertson would have made him the highest-paid closer in baseball.

It appears he’s still aiming for that distinction, along with the security of a multi-year deal.

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The Yankees’ free-agent hurler wants “a deal equal to or greater than” what Jonathan Papelbon received in November 2011 from the Philadelphia Phillies, according to the New York Post. That’d be four years at $50 million. Papelbon, who has a vesting option for 2016, is due to make an MLB-best (for a closer) $13 million next season.

ESPN also reported that Robertson was seeking “Papelbon money.”

“I met with Robertson’s (agent) yesterday,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday from the GM meetings in Phoenix. “We had our first post-qualifying offer turndown discussion. There’s really nothing to report, but yeah, we met with him for a while.”

Cashman said it “was a good conversation” but declined to go into detail.

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Tabbed as the team’s full-time closer after the retirement of Mariano Rivera, Robertson went 4-5 with a 3.08 ERA and 39 saves in 2014. The 29-year-old right-hander — who won a World Series with the Yankees in 2009 and was an All-Star two years later — should at the very least double last season’s $5.215 million salary with no shortage of interest on the open market.

The Yankees could turn to 6-foot-8 Dellin Betances if they decide Robertson is too pricey for their liking. Betances, an All-Star and Rookie of the Year finalist, went 5-0 with a 1.40 ERA and one save in 90 innings out of the bullpen.

“Eventually (Robertson) will sign with us or someone else,” Cashman said. “In between, we’ll stay engaged. Am I looking at other closers? I’m evaluating everything that’s available to me and anything I can do to improve our club. Obviously, if we don’t have him, we’ll probably look from within to handle it. But again, we’re open. They’re some quality relievers out there, too, via either trade or free agency that at least we’ll be compelled to evaluate.”

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