In 2000, Mariano Rivera’s BB/9 crept up to 2.9, his BABIP was .241 and his FIP (3.28) was higher than his ERA (2.85). We all wondered if this was a trend that was developing and if we should sell high. Ever since then, we have been waiting for the wheels to come off one of the best closers of all time, for this 42-year-old, who plays one of the most volatile positions in baseball to finally break down.
Now, as it seems, this may have finally happened.
While some pitchers enjoy eating chicken and drinking beer in their spare time (Ha! I couldn’t help myself), this iron-man keeps his body in peak shape, which has paid off throughout his career. His fastball velocity has dropped from 93.2 mph in 2002 to only 90.5 mph this season. For this guy to still bring the heat at his age, without his arm falling off, is a testament to his conditioning; however, his conditioning, which regularly included fielding fly balls, may have ended his career.
In a position that many choose to wait on in fantasy drafts because of the volitality of the position, Rivera has always been the one that you could count on. The final numbers as it stands, for now, for Mariano Rivera is 608, 2.21 ERA and a .210 BA/.262 OBP/.290 SLG against. Now owners must find a replacement for a guaranteed first-ballot Hall of Famer.
The easy answer is David Robertson. He has a 0.00 ERA in 11 IP with a 14.73 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, .333 BABIP, 1.52 xFIP and a 0.91 WHIP. This guy clearly has the potential. He is a two-pitch guy with a fastball that averages 92 mph. He has been dubbed the next in line to take over the closer role even before the season began. Now he will be thrown into a role that many assumed would not be so soon.
Though I am not a Yankees fan whatsoever, I am saddened by what has transpired for one of the greatest pitchers ever to take the mound in my generation. He is the all-time saves leader and has been apart of five championship teams. For Rivera not to go out on his terms is a sad day for everyone who loves the game.