Nate Robertson’s numbers don’t scream ‘deadline difference maker,’ but he could be just that in the right situation. His ERA is 5.10, his WHIP is 1.49 and he is only striking out 5.3 batters per nine, but Robertson could still appeal to contenders. Here’s why:
Robertson makes $10MM this year, but the Tigers are paying all but $400K of it. The Marlins only owe the lefty $163K before the end of the season, at which point Robertson's contract expires. Salary-wise, he is as cheap as it gets.
Robertson is not close to Type B status, so free agent compensation is not currently a factor. His team will not offer arbitration even if he shoots into Type B territory.
Robertson's ERA has been better than the league average in only one season, but against lefties, he has actually been quite effective. For his career, the 32-year-old has 7.1 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. Robertson allows fewer hits against lefties and induces more ground balls (55% ground ball rate vs. LHB, 44% vs. RHB). Like most pitchers, Robertson fares better against batters the first time they hit against him in a game.
These splits suggest that Robertson could be an effective left-handed specialist in a contender’s ‘pen. There aren't many quality left-handers available and given the high asking price for Scott Downs, Robertson could become a cheap, outside-the-box alternative for teams seeking a lefty reliever.
The Marlins made Robertson available earlier in the month, according to this tweet from ESPN.com’s Buster Olney.
- No teams have been directly linked to Robertson, but the Yankees and Red Sox are known to have interest in left-handed reliever Scott Downs.
- The Dodgers are interested in pitching and lefty George Sherrill has been a disappointment this season.
- The Rangers are looking for a left-handed reliever.
- The Angels could add a second lefty to complement Brian Fuentes.