With the Yankees first win of the season, David Robertson is now officially the 9th inning man. Sure, he’s come in for saves before. Now though, there is no Mariano Rivera to be seen for hundreds of miles. It’s Robertson’s show and he’s ready to make the transition seamless.
Robertson set the Astros down in order with a strikeout to record his first save since Rivera’s retirement last season. It was important not only that he put the Astros down in order, but that he made quick work of them. For a team that will provide a closer with 50+ save opportunities a season, extending counts is something Robertson wants to avoid as much as possible.
Robertson is a relatively cheap option for the Yankees, at least for 2014. He is currently in his 3rd arbitration year, and will make just over $5 million this season. To put that in perspective, Rivera made $85 million from 2008 to 2013, and over $160 million in his career. Even Rafael Soriano made $45 million in three years with the team even though he was only supposed to be a set-up man. Robertson should see a contract offer in the $10-$13 million range per year this coming off-season if all goes well, as he is set to become a free agent in 2015.
Robertson is a familiar face that has done well in New York for years already. With his success in the Bronx, it is easy to forget he Alabama product is only 28-years-old. His best year was in 2011 when he had an ERA of 1.08 with 66.2 innings pitched. In 2013, Robertson finished the year with a 2.08 ERA. There is no reason for him not to have the continued success he has already seen in pinstripes.
On a team with so many transitions coming into this year, Robertson has made the largest role to fill a spot of confidence for the team and fans. Look for Robertson’s name to be at the very top of the save leaders list all season long.