The New York Yankees are done making big additions for the 2021 season, but there are still some low-key moves to be made to bolster really any part of the roster. The bullpen could perhaps used one more finishing touch.
After parting ways with Jonathan Holder and Adam Ottavino, the Bombers added right-hander Darren O’Day, but some might argue another veteran arm is needed to help out in high-leverage situations. Fans aren’t exactly sold on Jonathan Loaisiga, Luis Cessa, Nick Nelson, Michael King and Brooks Kriske.
What if general manager Brian Cashman added an old friend to the mix? David Robertson, anyone? The right-hander, who is coming off Tommy John surgery back in August of 2019 after signing with the Philadelphia Phillies, threw for teams this week.
And the Yankees were present! He perfectly fits the low-cost veteran profile New York has been eyeing ever since they started to creep toward the $210 million luxury tax threshold.
Robertson will turn 36 during the 2021 season. He last pitched in 2019 with Philadelphia, but it was evident those elbow issues affected his play. He pitched in just seven games and registered a 5.40 ERA and 2.10 WHIP before being dealt the bad news.
But he’d be welcomed back with open arms if the Yankees were to sign him. Robertson, whom the Yanks selected in the 17th round back in 2006, spend nine seasons with New York and finished 38-22 with a 2.75 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 666 strikeouts in 501 games (498 innings). And don’t you forget about his 53 saves.
Houdini, as the fan base refers to him, had a knack for getting in an out of trouble, or bailing his fellow relievers out of tough spots. He was also the king of high-leverage situations, holding opponents to a .188 batting average and .574 OPS in 395 career opportunities. In late and close contests, he was just as effective, allowing just a .196 batting average and .583 OPS in 454 chances.
That’s exactly the kind of presence the Yankees need when some of their other more reliable arms need rest.
Robertson’s off-speed stuff was always his bread and butter. On top of that, his fastball has averaged 92 MPH for his career, so the fact he was touching 91 this week is a good sign. As long as he’s still got that filthy curve, that’s exactly the change-of-pace the Yankees bullpen needs. Robertson and O’Day could come in and throw off lineups in between fireballers Chad Green, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman.
Robertson probably should cost less than O’Day at this point too, so he’s well within the Yankees’ self-imposed budget.