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While partaking in his frequent activity of shagging fly balls during batting practice, Mariano Rivera is believed to have torn the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee. He's done for 2012. There were hints that this would be the New York Yankees closer's final season.
Rivera is as close to incomparable as any reliever has been, but the Bombers boast two capable options to fill the gap in Rafael Soriano and David Robertson.
Robertson owns the better dominance of the two arms and has pitched the eighth inning more often, which in traditional thought pegs him as the backup. He walks a bit too many but has proven he can wriggle out of a jam, thanks to his overpowering fastball and top-shelf curveball and cutter. Heck, the fact that Mo taught him that final offering bodes well for Robertson ascending into his vast theoretical shoes.
Walks have plagued Soriano more over the last two years; he seems to be nibbling more because his velocity has been on the decline. But he, too, throws a cutter, and has done so longer than D-Rob. He's still adept at prompting empty hacks, though.
Plus, he looms large because of his contract and circumstances under which he was inked. The Yanks paid Sori big bucks before the 2011 season and in essence labeled him as the successor to Rivera in situations like this, and the Yanks - with their emphasis on tradition and procedure - typically honor such arrangements. Of course, Robertson has matured and Soriano has regressed a little since, but that might not matter if the brass gets all titular.
Robertson makes sense as the preferred fantasy target thanks to his more tantalizing indicators, more appropriate role to transition into closing, and bigger velocity befitting a stopper. But Soriano has organizational commitments, so to speak, working for him. Of course, given Robertson's aforementioned ability to strand runners, maybe the Yanks would have Sori start an inning, and if he or someone else puts a save sitch in immediate jeopardy, they'd switch to Robertson.
Joe Girardi said Thursday night that he'd sleep on a decision. Even after he names one, it's hardly cemented, especially given the way Girardi sometimes micromanages his 'pen for matchups and sequence. Both relievers are worth owning.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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