Age: April 9th, 1985 (37 years old)
2022 Stats: 63.2 IP, 2.40 ERA, 20 SV, 81 K, 3.58 FIP, 3.05 xERA, 11.45 K/9, 4.95 BB/9, 0.7 fWAR
David Robertson wears a lot of hats. Over the past two years, he has been a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, High Point Rockers, and Team USA. He has been an opener, a closer, and everything in between. On June 22, he got to be a hitter for the very first time coming to bat in the ninth inning of a Cubs victory. (He struck out, but that’s not important.)
Now, he will put on his sports agent hat once again and enter the offseason as his own representation. He will look to secure himself a substantial raise over the $3.5 million deal he signed last offseason. After the great year he had, that should be easily doable.
David Robertson’s Path to Free Agency
Robertson was one of the most consistent and reliable relievers in baseball over the first 10 years of his career. From 2008 to 2018, he made 654 appearances with a 2.88 ERA. From 2010 to 2018, he pitched at least 60 innings in every season.
During the 2018-19 offseason, he signed a two-year $23 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. Seven appearances into the 2019 season, however, and he landed on the injured list. He ultimately needed Tommy John surgery, and his time with the Phillies was over nearly as soon as it began.
After a lengthy rehab process, Roberston returned to the field in late 2021, and the Rays gave him a chance to prove himself out of their bullpen. He performed well enough in 12 September/October appearances to earn a $3.5 million deal with the Chicago Cubs the following winter.
Then, in 2022, Robertson proved he was really and truly back. In 58 games he posted a 2.40 ERA and struck out 11.45 batters per nine. He slowed down as the season wore on (after a midseason trade back to Philadelphia), posting a 3.86 ERA in September/October, but he still looked like a competent big-league reliever. He enters free agency off a strong postseason run, in a good position to negotiate his next deal.
David Robertson Contract Projection
The relief pitching market is hot this winter, with several of the top free agent arms having already signed big, multi-year contracts. Robertson will be 38 years old next season, so he probably won’t get many two or three-year offers, but he might be able to command eight figures on a one-year deal. Robertson should be able to land himself a single-season contract worth somewhere between $8 and $10 million.
Top Five Landing Spots for David Robertson
The Rangers could benefit from a veteran arm, as their bullpen is currently quite young. They might set their sights a little higher than Robertson (Kenley Jansen, for example), but they should have the resources to sign multiple relievers this offseason.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals aren’t looking for a closer, but they should be looking for bullpen help. Robertson could be their guy.
Similar to the Cardinals, the Brewers are set for the ninth inning, but they could use some help getting there.
Chicago White Sox
Robertson signed with the White Sox the first time he hit free agency, back in 2015. His old club should be in the running for his services once again.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays have a top-heavy team that needs some work around the edges. They should definitely be in the market for a reliever of Robertson’s caliber.
Final Prediction for David Robertson
David Robertson signs a one-year, $10 million deal with the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers want to contend, and they seem to be willing to spend what it takes to do so. Robertson would be a strong addition to their inexperienced bullpen.