David Robertson knows for sure what his 2014 salary will be and can be pretty secure in knowing what his job will be: one of the toughest in baseball. He was one of four players to agree to terms with the Yankees on Friday, soon after owner Hal Steinbrenner essentially crowned him as the successor to Mariano Rivera.
The likely new closer avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.215-million deal with the club on the same day that the Yankees reached agreement with outfielder Brett Gardner, starting pitcher Ivan Nova and reliever Shawn Kelley.
Avoiding arbitration gives the Yankees more control over their budget in their attempt to stay below their target payroll figure of $189 million.
Rivera repeatedly nominated Robertson, his accomplished setup man and an All-Star in 2011, to succeed him. Soon after the 2013 season, Rivera said: "I believe he can do the job. The transition is mentally -- you have to be ready mentally."
General manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi have declined to name Robertson the closer, saying only that he will get a shot. But arbitration -- and the knowledge that closers make more than other relievers -- might have influenced that stance.
Steinbrenner, speaking with reporters at the owners' meetings this week, all but said the job is set. "We're going to rely on Robertson," he said. "I'm sure he'll do a good job for us."
When asked to confirm it, the owner said: "I think y'all have to ask Girardi that, but that's my understanding. He's the No. 1 candidate. Rightfully so."
In 2013, while earning $3.1 million, Robertson, 28, went 5-1 with a 2.04 ERA and struck out 10.4 per nine innings. He went 3-for-5 in save opportunities.
Gardner agreed to a $5.6-million contract after a season in which he made $2.85 million and hit .273 with eight homers and 24 steals. He is arguably the top defender and most tradeable member of a crowded outfield.
Nova, a key member of a thin rotation, agreed to $3.3 million. Kelley's deal is for $1.765 million.
Teixeira anxious. Mark Teixeira told the YES Network's Jack Curry that his surgically repaired right wrist is "feeling good so far" but that "I am a little anxious about how exactly I'm going to feel." Teixeira was interviewed for a program that will air next month. A video clip released by the network showed him hitting off a tee at the Stadium with no discomfort.
"If I'm healthy, I need to be a 30-home run, 100-RBI, Gold Glove player," said Teixeira, who played in 15 games in 2013.