Phillies face tough decisions with 9 eligible free agents
By Matt Rappa
2. David Robertson
The Phillies signed one-time All-Star and World Series-winning reliever David Robertson following the 2018 season to a two-year deal worth $23 million. Over the course of that contract, Robertson pitched just seven relief appearances, equating to nearly $3.3 million per outing.
The right-hander aimed to return at some point during the shortened 2020 season, but ultimately suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery, experiencing additional elbow discomfort. Robertson had been at the Phillies’ alternate training site in Lehigh Valley; he was cleared to face live hitters prior to his setback.
“My arm feels pretty much brand new, I just got to get that feeling for all my breaking stuff and where I can make that jump and be ready for some live action,” Robertson told WFAN back in June. “I’m itching to play. I haven’t had to sit this long and not play in a game ever in my life, so I’m kind of going nuts a little bit. I’m ready to get back out there and let it rip a few times.”
For the 2021 season, the Phillies have a $12 million club option on Robertson, or can buy him out for $2 million. MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Phillies will likely do the latter scenario. Even then, Robertson could be brought back on a deal fewer than $10 million and the Phillies would save money.
Robertson has pitched in parts of nine seasons with the New York Yankees during his career, most of which came under current Phillies manager Joe Girardi. As a Yankee, the right-hander went 38-22 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.157 WHIP spanning 501 relief appearances.
In the 2009 World Series against the Charlie Manuel-led Phillies, Robertson tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
1. Brandon Workman
Brandon Workman was one of the several relievers the Phillies acquired prior to the August 31, 2020, trade deadline to try to improve their historically worst bullpen. The Phillies acquired the former World Series champion from the Boston Red Sox, along with fellow reliever Heath Hembree, in exchange for promising prospect Connor Seabold and Nick Pivetta.
As of now, it appears the Red Sox won the trade by a convincing margin. Hembree had a 12.54 ERA in 11 appearances with the Phillies, while Workman had a 6.92 ERA in 14 appearances. The Phillies may choose to bring back Workman on a veteran minimum deal simply for the fact that they gave up a lot to acquire him. Perhaps, with a full spring training slate to get acclimated, Workman could have a bounce-back year in 2021.