The words haven’t changed.

“No matter what happens this winter, he’s going to come in and compete for that position,” Brian Cashman, the Yankees’ general manager, said of David Robertson and the team’s closer spot.
The actions, however? Or to be more precise, the inaction?

Those speak quite loudly, and this is what they’re screaming: Robertson, the outstanding setup man for the final three years of Mariano Rivera’s career, will get every opportunity to succeed the best closer ever.

Look at your free-agent board. We’re at the point now where no one still unemployed would represent a better closing option than Robertson.

“We’re not going to hand something over,” Cashman said. “He’ll get a shot at it. Nothing has changed. I’m still making a lot of phone calls. But given the allocations of our resources, we still have a lot of other areas to get to.”

Former Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit agreed to terms on a two-year, $15.5 million contract with the Padres on Wednesday, and on Tuesday, former Athletics closer Grant Balfour hooked up with the Orioles for two years and $15 million. MLB Trade Rumors’ list of available closers now includes Andrew Bailey, Rafael Betancourt, Kevin Gregg, Joel Hanrahan, Ryan Madson, Chris Perez and Fernando Rodney.

Anyone there you’d prefer to Robertson? Bailey, Betancourt, Hanrahan and Madson all are returning from serious arm injuries. The Indians non-tendered Perez, who lost his job in September and is known for making controversial comments.

Gregg and Rodney both put up presentable 2013 campaigns as closers with the Cubs and Rays, respectively. Neither pitcher is so good he should block Robertson, whose ceiling is considerably higher.