If the New York Yankees know anything about baseball it is that a closer is one of the most important things a team needs in order to be successful. The Baltimore Orioles are listening to deals as they are willing to trade closer Jim Johnson for the right price. The Yankees are in need of a closer. Should they go after Johnson?
If consistency is what a team is seeking, Johnson is the man for the job. In the past two seasons, nobody in baseball has totaled more saves (101) than the right hander. In 2013, he finished with 50 saves, which tied him with another great closer, Craig Kimbrel. As MLB Trade Rumors further reports, Johnson's success is now a problem since the organization is trying to have a reasonable payroll entering the 2014 season.
This is not the first time the Orioles have been in the trade rumor mill this offseason. Their catcher, Matt Weiters was also rumored to being moved as the Orioles could use a break in their paycut. However, that is a tough move to make since Weiters is one of the best backstops in baseball. With Johnson's salary estimated at $11 million in 2014, the Orioles do not think this is the right time to spend so much on a closer. Yes, they are contenders, but the team's current focus appears to be the money.
Now, the Yankees are also trying to be stingy, but when you have 27 championships and your fanbase becomes used to winning, chances are shrinking your payroll will be tougher than imagined. The Yankees and baseball are battling Alex Rodriguez (or is it the other way around). In the meantime, they have to get ready for the 2014 season. The Yankees already acquired a bat and a catcher, meaning their pitching will likely get better in 2014. They need a closer as Mariano Rivera is no longer playing baseball. So isn't Johnson the answer to all their problems?
David Robertson appears to be the best option in the Yankees' bullpen, but he only has eight career saves. Do you really want to hand over the ball to an inexperienced man? There is nothing more intimidating than the bases loaded in the closing stages of the game and your team up by one, but a Yankee Stadium crowd could really unnerve a pitcher.
Realistically, being that it is the Yankees and they need so much help, budgeting at a time like this is not really an option. Yes, they have to be smart about their acquisitions, but they have to get the right pieces of the puzzle together. Johnson knows the A.L. East and he has proven he can get the job done late in the game.