Skipper Talks All Things Yankees — Including A-Rod — From Baseball's Winter Meetings


NEW YORK (WFAN) — New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi isn’t feeling pressure to name a closer. And he says it’s possible nobody will be set in that role when Opening Day comes around.

Girardi told WFAN’s Sweeny Murti on Tuesday that the Yankees would miss David Robertson, who agreed this week to sign with the Chicago White Sox on a four-year, $46 million deal. The 29-year-old was solid last season taking over the ninth inning from the retired Mariano Rivera.

New York opted not to make an offer to Robertson, confident in a bullpen that now boasts two towering hurlers: Dellin Betances from the right side and newly signed left-hander Andrew Miller.

“I think the important thing is that we have a very good bunch of arms down there,” Girardi told Murti from baseball’s winter meetings in San Diego. “We have guys that have the ability to get left-handers and right-handers out and to strike them out as well. So there’s going to be a lot of options.”

Those options — not limited to just Betances and Miller — could give Girardi the opportunity to experiment with a closer by committee. Could Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren or Justin Wilson also be called on in the ninth?

“I think guys like to know their roles,” Girardi said. “But maybe it’s not ironed out when we leave spring training. Maybe it takes a little bit of time, and maybe we have to sit down and tell (them), ‘This is how we’re gonna do it, so just be prepared, and I’ll try to give you an idea every day or every month if things are changing, or every week.’ I think that’s a possibility because of the arms that we have.”

Girardi reiterated he’s “not too worried” about who will take over for Robertson, if and when the team makes a final decision.

“This is a really good collection of arms. Guys that have power, swing-and-miss sliders, swing-and-miss curveballs, deception,” he said. “We’re going to have to iron it out. But that’s not a big concern for me right now.”

More from the Yankees skipper:

On A-Rod: “I think his at-bats are going to be real important. We’re going to have to find a way to get him at-bats. There will be some DH days in spring training where maybe we can give him some more at-bats. It might come down to, you go play in a minor league game where you can get eight, nine at-bats in a game if you want, that sort of thing. So I think that’s going to be real important for him. And we’re just going to have to watch and make sure that we keep him healthy in spring training. But he’s gotta play and he’s gotta get that timing back.”

On new SS Didi Gregorius: “I’m excited about the young man and his opportunity. I’ve always liked him. I have not seen him play a lot. His athletic ability always caught my attention. His first home run against us caught my attention as well. … He’s going to have a great opportunity here. We will continue to stress to him that, you know what, just be yourself. We’re not asking you to be someone else. Just be yourself.”

On the offense having a bounce-back year: “I think health is going to play an important role. … I feel like if we get a healthy Carlos Beltran, he’ll be extremely productive and it will be a better year for us offensively. You look at the teams that made the playoffs last (season), a lot of them scored 700-plus runs. We scored (633). Somehow we have to find a way to score more runs.”

On missing the playoffs: “It’s difficult on the organization. It’s difficult on the players. It’s difficult on the coaching staff and myself. We need to get back there. We need to find a way to get in the playoffs and win another World Series.”

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