The Phillies David Robertson deal is a steal that will help them this year and beyond
The Phillies have been linked to two words throughout this offseason: stupid money. While that’s not the exact phrase used by owner John Middleton describing the team’s approach this offseason, the idea that Philadelphia will do whatever it takes to get who they want made the fanbase extremely excited.
While he wasn’t the top reliever available, the signing of David Robertson should excite the fan base for several reasons.
Off the top, this deal is very team friendly, and perhaps Robertson negotiating his own deal without an agent played a role in that. The deal, reported by Mark Feinsand, guarantees Robertson at least $23 million. He’ll earn $10 million in 2019 and $11 million in 2020, with a $12 million club option ($2 million buyout) for 2021.
Philadelphia projects to save a mountain of cash considering what other relievers are expected to sign or have already inked. St. Louis signed Andrew Miller to a two-year deal worth $2 million more than Robertson’s deal.
Both Jeurys Familia and Joe Kelly signed deals larger than Robertson’s as well.
In addition, several arms the Phillies were connected to are expected to sign much larger deals, deals that could be four times as big as Robertson’s.
Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, and Cody Allen are all still on the market, and especially with Kimbrel the money will go from reasonable to stupid fast. Getting Robertson for that price and for those years keeps Philadelphia flexible when they project to be championship contenders, something Matt Klentak has stressed throughout his tenure.
When you dig into Robertson’s numbers, the fact Philadelphia is getting him at this rate is even more impressive. According to Jayson Stark, Robertson held both lefties and righties to sub-.200 batting averages each of his last two seasons.
Philadelphia really wanted a lefty for their bullpen, but if Robertson can continue his dominance against both sides of the plate, his presence will be just fine.
Stark also provided this stat for Robertson versus the heart of opposing lineups.
Here’s another incredible stat that was thrown out on Twitter by Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
To put it simply, Robertson has quietly been dominant not just over the last couple of years, but throughout his career. Though he’s entering his age 34 season, Robertson’s workload has been consistent for years, throwing at least 60 innings in each of his last nine seasons.
Klentak and company should be lauded for this deal both from a structure and potential performance standpoint. While this deal likely takes Philadelphia out of the equation for a superstar closer, they walk away with one of the most consistent relievers in baseball on a team-friendly deal.