Former Phillies reliever David Robertson gearing for return
By Matt Rappa
Among the several reasons why the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen has struggled in recent seasons is them allocating $23 million to David Robertson, only to get 6 2/3 innings in return.
The 35-year-old and long-time New York Yankees veteran — who was on the 2009 World Series championship team opposite the Phillies — battled through an elbow injury throughout most of his two-year tenure in red pinstripes the past two seasons. Facing 33 batters at the start of the 2019 campaign, Robertson allowed eight hits, four runs (all earned), one home run, and six walks, while striking out six batters en route to an 0-1 record, 5.40 ERA, and 2.100 WHIP ratio.
Robertson’s final Phillies appearance was on April 14, 2019, and he would later undergo Tommy John surgery that summer. Eyeing a return sometime in the summer of 2020, Robertson suffered a setback and also missed the entire COVID-19 shortened season.
David Robertson, sidelined since April 2019, is attempting an MLB comeback.
When Robertson negotiated and signed his deal with then-general manager Matt Klentak in January 2019, he represented himself — just months removed from parting ways with his agent, Scott Leventhal. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, Robertson has rehired Leventhal to represent him. He threw his first bullpen session on Thursday, and plans to hold a showcase early next month, similar to the one the Phillies recently attended to see fellow right-handed veterans Julio Teheran and Anibal Sanchez.
In October, the team declined its $12 million option for Robertson, and instead paid a $2 million buyout. Would the right-hander’s former Yankees manager, Joe Girardi, consider giving him a second chance in Philadelphia? Perhaps, and the first sign they would consider that is by possibly attending his early February showcase.
Robertson never got to pitch with the Phillies under his long-time Yankees skipper, only under Gabe Kapler in his final season in Philadelphia before he was fired.
A healthy Robertson paired with Archie Bradley, Jose Alvarado, Sam Coonrod, and other bullpen additions made this offseason, sounds good on paper. Of course, once pitchers and catchers are expected to report to Clearwater, Florida, in a few weeks, the bullpen picture will be better understood and defined.