You may have heard the story already, but four years ago, I was on vacation in India when the news broke. David Robertson signed a four-year deal with the White Sox. I was mad. The Yankees decided Andrew Miller and a draft pick-to-be-named-Kyle-Holder was better than bringing back my favorite player. I’m still mad they let him walk and didn’t even negotiate with him then.
I don’t care that re-signing him then probably would’ve meant dealing him in the 2016 fire-sale instead of welcoming him home in 2017. Logic be damned, I never got over that. And now? I get to throw logic out the window and be mad again.
BREAKING: David Robertson has agreed to a two-year deal with the Phillies that guarantees him at least $23 million. He’ll earn $10M in 2019, $11M in 2020, with a $12M club option ($2M buyout) for 2021. He’s passed a physical and the deal is complete.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 3, 2019
I can’t say I’m shocked. My instant reaction can be found here. You can say I’m being over-dramatic. Hell, I’ll say it. But I don’t care. This is the second time I’ve had to say farewell to my favorite player and even though I saw it coming, it doesn’t suck any less.
I hoped the Yankees would bring him back but when they didn’t sign him early, like they did with Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, and J.A. Happ, I figured what was coming. At this point, I’m just happy he didn’t sign with the Red Sox. Still though, this isn’t great.
I know there were quite a few relievers available this offseason, and if they sign someone like Adam Ottavino, he’d possibly represent an “upgrade” over D-Rob, but these are the New York Yankees. There’s no reason they couldn’t bring back one of the most consistent relievers in baseball, who they let walk once before and later felt the need to bring back, and still sign the new guy.
The toughest part of this is looking at the terms of this deal. Some may argue he’s not worth “elite” or “closer” money. To those people, I’m probably not allowed to say exactly what I want to say, so I’ll just leave them with this:
Past performance is never a guarantee of future results with relievers. But Robertson held both LHs and RHs to a sub-.200 average in each of the last 2 seasons.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) January 3, 2019
The only relievers in baseball to do that (min. 50 appearances):
Craig Kimbrel https://t.co/oRVy6A5VPU
Another incredible David Robertson stat:— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) January 3, 2019
No. 3-4 hitters vs. him last year:
4-for-54 (.074) - 22 strikeouts/4 hits!
Secondly, his deal isn’t even expensive. At most he’d cost $23 million over two years, which is nothing these days, and especially not for the Yankees. There’s absolutely no reason the Yankees couldn’t afford this and go give Adam Ottavino and/or Zach Britton the pay day they’re chasing. There’s obviously the possibility they still get those two, since they’ve been linked to them, but that’s not the point. Losing Robertson stings.
Robertson decided to be his own agent this time around in free agency, a sign he knew exactly what he wanted. He stated his desire to return to the Yankees when the offseason first began, and I’m sure if the Yankees came close, I’d be writing about his homecoming instead of this. Yet, here we are. The Yankees’ offseason has been extremely curious.
The Yankees brass has talked a big game about how they want to improve the team and aren’t afraid to spend where necessary, but fans have yet to see any action. While spending on CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ are fine, it’s not showing an all-in, winning mentality. There’s still plenty of offseason left for them to change the perception, but right now it’s not looking good for them.
Because of their lack of clarity, I’m here saying goodbye to my favorite player...again. The last time I was on vacation and wasn’t writing here, so I didn’t have a medium to share my thoughts. This time, I just got back from vacation and the Yankees spoiled any leftover magical wonder I had from visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. My thoughts are hopefully much more nuanced than they were the first time, when they mostly just consisted of expletives and tears (note to self: new band name possibility).
It’s hard to argue with logic when it comes to a “favorite” player. There’s an emotional attachment there, and with emotions, logic goes out the window. If the Yankees end up with Britton and Ottavino, that’s good. Heck, they might even be better for it. Just like it was when they got Miller the first time they let D-Rob walk.
Still, once more, I’m here saying goodbye to my favorite player. Thanks for everything, David Robertson. Here’s hoping you have nothing but success in Philadelphia, but that your team stinks so bad that Brian Cashman can once again right his wrong and trade for you. Until then, I’ll be sitting on my bed in my Wolverine costume with my framed photograph of you.