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Phillies sign David Robertson, Yankees continue bullpen search

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The Yankees won’t be able to count on Robertson in 2019.

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees

For the second time in his career, David Robertson left the Yankees via free agency. Per multiple reports, the right-hander reached a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Mark Feinsand noted that it’s a two-year deal worth $23 million, complete with a third-year club option for $12 million.

Robertson, 33, pitched to a 3.23 ERA (2.97 FIP) across 69.2 innings with the Yankees in 2018. He maintained a high level of strikeouts (11.76 K/9) with a healthy dose of groundballs (45.3%). His walk rate played to career norms (3.36 BB/9), but he did have some trouble with the home run ball (0.90 HR/9). Since rejoining the Yankees in July 2017, he has been one of the team’s ace relievers. His absence will be noticeable in the late innings.

The Yankees had interest in Robertson, who acted as his own agent this offseason, but he ultimately chose Philadelphia.

“Philly really checked off all the boxes for me,” Robertson explained to Feinsand. “They are hungry to get back to the postseason and win. They have a great fan base, a beautiful ballpark and a special focus on charity. They’ve put together a great squad and I think I can bring a lot to the team in the back end of their bullpen.”

The Bombers now figure to pivot to Adam Ottavino and Zach Britton, the latter of whom has been in close contact with the Yankees, notes Jeff Passan. They also have Manny Machado’s free agency to attend to. It’s a shame to see Robertson leave again — he always stood out as a fan favorite — but at least he didn’t depart for Boston.