Ranking every New York Yankees closer since Mariano Rivera

You'll never guess who ranks fifth -- sorry, legally obligated to type that.

San Francisco Giants v New York Yankees
San Francisco Giants v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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No. No, not every Yankees pitcher who's recorded a save since Mariano Rivera's career ended in 2013. That would be pure lunacy.

For reference, on that list, Shawn Kelley ranks 54th and Tommy Layne ranks dead last.

For this exercise, we're ranking only Yankees who've been considered the primary closer in the great Rivera's wake, potentially the only job harder than being New York's starting shortstop after Derek Jeter's retirement.

From Jeter's successor, Yankee fans demanded production, but were willing to accept star power and charisma from a different position. Ultimately, Didi Gregorius was a joy, but Aaron Judge got the captaincy. That was fine.

In the aftermath of the Rivera Era? Nope. Absolute perfection in the ninth inning, or you were a bum who couldn't hack it. One blown save? Rivera would never. TWO blown saves? Here's your bus ticket.

Rivera, the only unanimous Hall of Famer in MLB history, was shockingly great, as well as consistent, but in retirement, Yankee fans built him up to an impossible standard that even the man himself couldn't have reached. Rivera had flaws. Some of them showed their ugly faces in October. Sometimes, he allowed mid-summer grand slams to Bill Selby and walk-offs to Marco Scutaro. While consuming these rankings, it seems crucial to remember that nobody's perfect. Not the modern Yankees bullpen. Not this author. And not even Rivera.

For the purposes of this exercise, what's a "primary" closer? Let's say 20+ saves with the Yankees since 2013 garners you inclusion. That's ostensibly one great season in the role. We'll also give a special membership to the team's primary closer during the very weird 2020 season, who didn't rack up enough saves, but ... well, he was the primary closer! What do you want from us?

Ranking the Yankees' 6 closers since Mariano Rivera handed the ball to Jeter and Andy

6. Dellin Betances

Betances was a great Yankee reliever bordering on historic. He was raised in the post-Rivera glow in 2014 and swiftly became a perennial All-Star, a near-impossible feat for a middle reliever to reach.

Unfortunately ... he was not a closer. If Betances was on, he was on. If he was off, he was OFF. That doesn't typically translate well to the ninth inning, and the 6'8" right-hander quickly became the poster boy for that final frame being a whole different animal.

Betances was a better reliever in pinstripes than many of the names ahead of him on this list. Some of his full seasons were jaw-dropping; 135 and 131 Ks in 90 and 84 innings his first two seasons helped define him, but probably also helped ultimately slow him down. As a closer, his 36 saves over the course of five seasons, with numerous unfortunate blow-ups mixed in, have him properly ranked last. Negative bonus points for blowing an entire season at Fenway Park back in 2016.