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Yankees Potential Free Agent Target: David Robertson

The last time they let him go, the Yankees brought Robertson back. Let’s avoid the middle-man this time.

Cleveland Indians v New York Yankees
“Why haven’t the Yankees signed me yet?”
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

In a couple days, it will be exactly four years to the day of when news broke that David Robertson signed a four-year deal with the White Sox. I’ve told this story before, but I was in India on vacation at the time and I was very angry. Robertson was one of my all-time favorite Yankees and just like that he was gone. The Yankees got a compensation pick for D-Rob and signed Andrew Miller, which they viewed as more valuable.

That pick turned into Kyle Holder. He looks like this. That wasn’t worth losing Robertson. Brian Cashman learned his lesson, though, and brought him back along with Todd Frazier and Tommy Kahnle in 2017. Robertson was back where he belonged for the last year and a half but finds himself a free agent once again. This time around, the Yankees shouldn’t make the same mistake again.

The Yankees in 2014 were in a different situation than they are now. Even if they pretend they were fielding competitive teams at that time, they were trending down. Now, though, the Yankees are in win-now mode. Letting D-Rob walk in free agency would weaken one of the team’s strengths.

Robertson wasn’t as good this year as he was when they traded for him last year when he was putting up video game numbers, but those numbers were hardly sustainable. Still though, he delivered whenever his number was called and enjoyed an overall successful season, just like he always does.

Pitchers are volatile by nature and relievers even more so. It’s hard to have faith in a reliever, but some are exceptions to that rule. Robertson is definitely one of those exceptions. He debuted 10 years ago and has yet to disappoint. He’s not the flashiest or most exciting reliever, but he’s been a beacon of consistency for a decade now.

A few weeks ago, I wrote that the Yankees bullpen was in a vulnerable state. They could potentially lose Robertson and Zach Britton this offseason and then possibly Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman next year. Locking up Robertson this year would go a long way to helping them absorb any other potential losses.

Most teams nowadays lean heavily on their bullpen. The idea of the opener and starters only going twice through the order has brought on increased bullpen usage. The Yankees, especially, lean on their bullpen. They haven’t deployed the opener yet, but their starters struggled to give them length this year and that could be an issue again next year. They shouldn’t weaken the strength that let them deal with those hits.

There was a recent report about how David Robertson chaired the meeting when the players decided how to distribute playoff shares. The Yankees gave out the fewest shares among all the teams. Supposedly this might’ve hurt D-Rob’s relationship with the organization and his chances of coming back, but just because he oversaw the meetings doesn’t mean it all falls on his shoulders. The majority of the players voted this way, so the distribution here should have no bearing on this decision.

Re-signing Robertson should be an easy win for Brian Cashman. He’s already stated he’d like to come back, but he knows he has to look out for his best interests. He parted ways with his agent this winter and is going to be representing himself. Usually this means that the player knows exactly what he wants, and he has a good relationship with Cashman so the two sides should be able to get a deal done.

The only problem is that no one has any idea what the Yankees are going to be doing this year. Hal Steinbrenner finally gets to put up his “Under the Luxury Tax” banner for 2018 and it remains to be seen whether or not he wants to repeat. They may have some tricks up their sleeves but all we can go on is what we know so far. No one expected them to get into a bidding war, but not even being competitive in their pursuit of Patrick Corbin indicates a lack of a desire to spend.

There’s still a lot of offseason left to go though, so who knows what Cashman and company will end up doing. They may not have been competitive for Corbin but there are still areas where they could show they’re not completely against spending where it makes sense. David Robertson makes sense.

I don’t know why people think I’m joking, but my offer for #30 would be 30 years/$30 million per year. This way we never have to worry about Robertson leaving us again.