All right, people, let’s do this one last time. No seriously, I would actually get to stop writing these posts, if the Yankees would just do the right thing and dress David Robertson in pinstripes once again. Alas, they have not made any attempt at reconciliation since his second departure from the Bronx, therefore I am here performing my annual midseason duty: encouraging the Yankees to trade for David Robertson.
2023 Stats: 37 games, 1.96 ERA (210 ERA+), 3.53 FIP, 10.23 K/9, 2.40 BB/9, 0.992 WHIP, 0.7 fWAR
Contract Status: Signed one-year, $10 million contract prior to 2023 season. Free agent after season is complete.
Another year, another typical season from “Houdini.” It’s no secret that the Mets committed a lot of money to free agents prior to the start of this season. Although a lot of their big money signings were their own free agents or direct replacements (such as Justin Verlander signing and Jacob deGrom leaving) for their departing free agents, there were still a few notable additions.
Re-signing Edwin Díaz to a five-year, $102 million deal was the big news for the Mets’ bullpen, but they also bolstered the bridge to him by re-signing Adam Ottavino and bringing in David Robertson, who proved in 2022 that he was back to form. After departing the Yankees in 2018 and signing a two-year deal with the Phillies, Robertson only pitched in seven games in 2019 before needing surgery to repair his flexor and then ultimately needing Tommy John surgery as well. He missed all of the shortened 2020 season and then was a free agent until a solid stint for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics earned him a 12-game stint with the Rays.
The Rays audition didn’t go exactly as he’d hoped, so he ended up signing a one-year prove-it deal with the Cubs where he quickly showed he was back to form and ended up being dealt back to the Phillies at last year’s trade deadline. He pitched well enough to help them out as they made a run to the World Series, and after the season Steve Cohen opened up his wallet to bring him on board to help out Díaz and Ottavino at the back-end of their bullpen.
Unfortunately, a Puerto Rico win over the Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic led to on-field celebration and a potential season-ending injury to Díaz. This led for an opportunity for Robertson to go back to a familiar role, as the team’s primary closer. In the least shocking turn of events, Robertson has been up for the challenge. While the Mets have had a hugely disappointing season, even more so than the Yankees, Robertson has been one of the team’s few bright spots. He’s converted 12 of 15 save opportunities, and has been as consistent as ever while the Amazin’s try to find their footing.
Still, the Mets find themselves in fourth place, 18.5 games out of first, and 8.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. They’re almost assuredly not going to the playoffs, and should be looking to trade assets with an eye towards 2024. They also don’t have a lot of players they could easily trade, just because how they’ve performed there aren’t a lot of players on that roster that other teams would want. The Mets will also definitely look to be back in contention as early as next year and are not looking to rebuild, so the players that other teams would want and are available to be traded is an even shorter list. Robertson, however, is only signed through the end of this year. Though he’s expressed a desire to remain in Queens, it just wouldn’t make sense for Eppler to keep him around at this point.
On the Yankees side, the team’s bullpen has been one of its only strengths. However, while still a strength, some cracks are starting to show. The Yankees are only getting consistent length from Gerrit Cole — outside of that their starting pitching has been bleak to put it as nice as I possibly can. Carlos Rodón should help ease the burden, but he’s only made two starts so far. The Yankees bullpen has been used a lot, and possibly some signs of fatigue are starting to show. Also, a trade deadline cannot pass without Brian Cashman getting some bullpen help. It’s almost a law at this point.
A reunion with David Robertson makes sense for almost everyone at this point. While he wouldn’t stay with the Mets, he wouldn’t be moving far away. He’s familiar and has thrived under the lights of Yankee Stadium before, and the Yankees could surely use another reliable option out of the bullpen while they try and claw their way back into a playoff position. Whether or not the two teams would or could agree to a deal is a whole other issue, but Brian Cashman should, at the very least, be on the phone with his old pal, Billy Eppler regarding Robertson.
Thus my annual plea is complete. Please bring him home and right the wrong that was done with his departure in 2018. We shall meet again in the cold winter months where I will advocate for a 30-year, $30 million per year contract for Robertson so I can stop writing these posts and you can stop reading them.