Yankees: Girardi flip-flops on closer again, controversy follows

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

The Yankees are seriously toying with the idea of flip-flopping their dominant lefty-righty relievers with Chapman returning to his role as closer and Betances as his set-up man. We’ve got to get this right, Joe. Are you sure about this?

The Yankees were rained out in Baltimore last night. The game will be made up this afternoon and from here on in the Yankees have only one scheduled off-day on Thursday, September 21 to finish out the season.

But there’s one thing about rainouts. They upset the routine ballplayers, and those around them live by. It’s not a day off by any means. You’ve been at the ballpark at your normal time, and there’s nothing to do but watch movies, catch up on your email, eat, talk, and then eat and talk some more.

On the road, as the Yankees are, there’s nowhere to go except back to one of those cookie-cutter hotels you live half your life in. And the media is just as restless. So what often happens as it did last night is the media gathers around Joe Girardi, or some other player willing to interrupt his card game, and there’s an impromptu press conference that takes place.

Loose lips sink ships

And that’s when loose lips can sink ships. Maybe Girardi wanted to talk about re-installing Aroldis Chapman as his closer over Dellin Betances. But just as possible, he might have wanted to keep this one close to his vest, while going about it in game action moves no one might notice over time.

Because now, we have controversy we didn’t have a few a hours ago about the team. And, Girardi will be analyzed and re-analyzed depending on how Chapman and Betances adapt or really re-adapt to their roles on the Yankees.

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Each will say what they usually say, which is “It’s Joe’s call, and I’ll pitch anywhere he wants me to,” but let’s face it, the role of closer on any team elevates a pitcher’s status. And the fact that, save for a blown save the other day, Betances has been magnificent while Chapman was injured and going through whatever it was he was going through, raises the question, why upset the apple cart now?

And the fact that, save for a blown save the other day, Betances has been magnificent while Chapman was injured and going through whatever it was he was going through, raises the question, why upset the apple cart now?

Seemingly, if Girardi follows through on the move, his thinking is based on Chapman’s recent renaissance outings which have seen his fastball return to his normal 102-103 range. But that still ignores the question of where his fastball “went” in the first place, along with the uglier question, could the same problem return?

Plus, 103 on the gun doesn’t matter if the pitch location is off. Look here.

Here’s what Girardi told NJ.com last night:

"“I believe in my heart it was really going to even out and he was going to get back on track,’’ Girardi said. “Some people may get emotional about it and think short-term, but as a manager you’ve got to think long-term.’’"

Which only serves to have some of us to point out Girardi is not supposed to be thinking with his heart, he’s supposed to be thinking with his head.

There’s no long-term anymore, Joe

Moreover, there’s no such thing as long-term anymore. The season is all but over, and everything now is short-term with all eyes singularly focused on the playoffs, and especially the one-game shootout the Yankees will almost definitely be involved in.

By then, Girardi better have a firmer idea of who’s going to be his closer.

More Yankees news

In other news, the Yankees also announced that two-weeks of rest are prescribed for Adam Warren, who is suffering from back spasms. Warren has been moved to the 10-day DL.

This shines a brighter light on Chad Green, who has been a strikeout machine of late and a recent favorite of Girardi in the middle innings when needed.

Sonny Gray goes today for the Yankees, and following the game, the team moves on to Texas where they play three games with the Rangers before the questionable series comes up with Tampa Bay.

The complication is caused by Irma, if and when she finally decides her path and the hurricane zooms into Florida, where the Yankees are scheduled to play Tampa Bay beginning next Monday, raising the chance these games will be moved to a different location.

Clint Frazier returns to game action on a rehab assignment. He celebrates his 23rd birthday today.

Next: Corey Claus: Is Aaron Judge the focus of extremists?

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