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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3. Clay Holmes

Clay Holmes' slump, from the summer of 2022 to the early part of May 2023, brought about a cascading wave of "It's Over" takes, as well as a subtler wave of "Verdugo Broke Him!" takes from the demons in the back.

Since his early-season mechanical failures, though, which led to crowds questioning whether he had that patented ninth-inning fortitude (real closer debaters know), Holmes has turned things around again, piloting his Devil Pitch to the corners more often than not and pairing the high-velocity sinker with an effective slider. Suddenly, he's turned a season on the brink into another borderline All-Star campaign with 1.2 bWAR from the bullpen to his name.

This was supposed to be the year that comeback story Michael King probably took over as the Yankees' full-time closer. Instead, King has regressed (slightly), and works better as a multi-inning wipeout option once per series anyway. Holmes looks like the same old, same old, proving that the version the Yankees "unlocked" in a half-season in 2021 might just be the "real one" instead of the scuffling Holmes we watched in April.

(We reserve the right to move Holmes back extremely far if he doesn't continue building on his reputation over the course of his next year and a half in pinstripes.)