David Robertson Rumors

White Sox Sign David Robertson

WEDNESDAY: The deal is official. Robertson receives $10MM next year and a $1MM raise in each successive season, per Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribne (via Twitter).

TUESDAY, 11:44am: Robertson has a limited no-trade clause with the White Sox that will allow him to block trades to five teams, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).

MONDAY, 11:59pm: Robertson’s deal is worth $46MM over four years, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). He will receive limited no-trade protection, according to Mark Feinsand of New York Daily News (on Twitter).

USATSI_8120293_154513410_lowres11:39pm: The White Sox have agreed to sign David Robertson to a four-year deal worth more than $40MM, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).  Robertson has been zeroed in on landing a four-year deal this winter and he found a team happy to give him one with a solid average annual value. Robertson is represented by All Bases Covered, as shown in the MLBTR Agency Database.

Robertson just missed the ~$50MM Jonathan Papelbon-type deal that he was said to be looking for, but he did out-earn fellow free agent Andrew Miller, who will be pitching late in games for Robertson’s former club.  The incumbent Yankees were reportedly open to going to a fourth year, but it’s not clear if they ever presented him with an offer of that length.

The White Sox are making a massive splash at this year’s Winter Meetings.  In addition to adding Robertson, the White Sox appear to be on the verge of acquiring Jeff Samardzija from the Athletics.  Some observers felt that the White Sox were in need of a rebuild this winter, but they apparently believe very strongly that they can win in 2015.

Last month it was reported that Robertson had serious interest from at least six clubs and the Astros and Yankees were among the teams known to be in the mix.  Robertson entered this offseason as the 13th ranked player on Tim Dierkes’ Top 50 Free Agents list, making him the highest ranked reliever of the winter.

Robertson rejected the Yankees’ qualifying offer, so New York will get an extra pick at the end of the first round of next year’s draft as compensation. The White Sox’ top pick, No. 8 overall, is protected, but they’ll sacrifice their second-round pick, No. 45 overall, once the Robertson signing becomes official.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


AL East Rumors: Robertson, Red Sox, Cespedes

The Yankees lost a homegrown star in David Robertson yesterday and they’re also losing ground in the American League with the talent that’s flowing in, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  There have been 14 free agents to sign for $10MM or more in total, and just two of those deals were with National League teams with zero migrations from the AL to the NL.  At this moment, all five AL East teams probably feel they can win the division and the wild card competition also figures to be fierce for the Bombers in 2015.  More out of the AL East..

  • A big part of the Yankees‘ decision to not make an offer to David Robertson was the value they put on the compensatory draft pick they would receive, according to Jack Curry of the YES Network (via Twitter).  The closer agreed to join the White Sox on a four-year, $46MM deal late last night.
  • The Red Sox and Reds have discussed deal that would send Yoenis Cespedes to Cincinnati, but there’s been no recent progress on that front, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
  • The Red Sox and Phillies have discussed a swap of Antonio Bastardo for Sean Coyle this offseason, a major league source with knowledge of the situation tells Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (via Twitter).  It’s unclear if those talks are still progressing at this time, however.
  • Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters yesterday that he’s confident that Boston can sign Jon Lester, but not everyone agrees.  “I don’t see how the Red Sox get this done,” an official of one club who has been monitoring Lester closely told Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.

Yankees Notes: Robertson, Headley, Heathcott

David Robertson did such a good job replacing Mariano Rivera that the Yankees might now have a more difficult time replacing Robertson, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller have big-time talent, but have also both had frustrating seasons in the recent past. The Yankees could pursue a closer like Jason Grilli, or perhaps mix and match Betances and Miller at closer. The team has plenty of strong bullpen pieces, but no one who represents the obvious fix for the closer role that Robertson did last year. Here’s more out of the Bronx.

  • Now that the White Sox have swooped in to nab Robertson, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News writes that the Yankees will turn their attention to the middle of their starting rotation, where the departure of Shane Greene in the Didi Gregorius trade leaves them thin. The Yankees would also like to re-sign Chase Headley, although Madden notes that the Astros are rumored to have offered him five years and $65MM.
  • The Yankees will try to keep outfielder Slade Heathcott and pitcher Jose Campos by re-signing them to minor-league deals, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York tweets. The Yankees non-tendered the pair last week even though neither were eligible for arbitration. Both have struggled with injuries, but they still have upside if they can stay healthy. As Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues explains, non-tendering Heathcott and Campos allows the Yankees to avoid losing them through waivers. They’re now free agents, but the Yankees may have an edge in their attempts to re-sign them, due to their histories with the organization.


Latest On David Robertson

10:33pm: Even if they acquire Jeff Samardzija, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears (via Twitter) that the White Sox will continue to pursue Robertson.

9:47pm: Despite having Dellin Betances and newly-signed free agent Andrew Miller in tow, the Yankees are still hopeful that they can retain David Robertson, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  In fact, they seem flexible about giving him a fourth year on his contract, even if it’s not their preference.

The Yankees are looking to form a super bullpen, much like the Royals enjoyed this past season.  Kansas City had an unheard of 77-1 record in 2014 when leading after six innings.  Still, there’s competition that the Bombers will have to beat out.  The Astros, who saw Miller take less money to go to New York, are in the middle of talking with Robertson.  The White Sox are also said to be in on the star closer.

Heyman also adds that even though the Yankees could be willing to go to four years, they are unwilling to go to $50MM over that span.  Robertson has been said to have interest from at least a half-dozen clubs and he’s eyeing a deal in the four-year, $50MM range.


AL Notes: Moss, Samardzija, Yankees, Tigers

Here’s a morning links roundup from the American League:

  • The Athletics are still “inching” toward a deal with the Indians on Brandon Moss, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. A swap is likely to go down over the next few days, Sherman adds.
  • Clubs that have spoken with the Athletics about Jeff Samardzija have been left with the impression that Oakland would not be willing to grant an extension negotiation window as part of the deal, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports on Twitter. That is perhaps not terribly surprising, as Samardzija does not appear particularly likely to forego a chance at testing the open market.
  • For the Yankees, one side benefit of adding Martin Prado (last summer) and Andrew Miller (just a few days ago) is that it conveys leverage in talks with now-free agent third baseman Chase Headley and closer David Robertson, Sherman writes. While New York is now willing to put a fourth year on the table for both players, says Sherman, it will not match the reported four-year, $65MM offer out to Headley or the $50MM+ asking price of Robertson.
  • While there are several intriguing possibilities for the Tigers at the Winter Meetings, the odds are that the team will make only smaller moves,  if any, per Chris Iott of MLive.com. Iott takes a look at Detroit’s various options for improvement, concluding that most are rather unlikely to take place.

White Sox Interested In David Robertson

The White Sox are the latest team to express interest in closer David Robertson, George A. King III of the New York Post reports.  “They like him a lot and he is definitely on their radar,’’ a source tells King. “They have several things they want to do and he is one of them.”

Robertson is looking for a contract in the four-year, $50MM range and the Sox are reportedly “aren’t blanching” over the idea of giving the closer that big a guarantee, King writes.  Chicago’s first round pick (eighth overall) is protected, so they’d only have to give up their second-rounder as compensation to sign Robertson, who rejected the Yankees’ qualifying offer.  Robertson would provide a major boost to a White Sox bullpen that posted a cumulative 4.38 ERA in 2014, the third-highest mark in baseball.

The Astros, Blue Jays and Yankees are three of at least a half-dozen clubs who have shown interest in Robertson, though King cites reasons why all three could bow out of the race.  The Jays may not be willing to meet Robertson’s asking price, the Astros “don’t believe Robertson wants to pitch for them” and the Yankees would prefer to give their former stopper a deal closer to the $40MM threshold.  New York had also been hesitant to give Robertson more than three guaranteed years, though the team “may be softening” in that respect.


Anthopoulos On Rotation, Relief Market, Robertson

Here’s the latest from Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays, courtesy of a series of tweets from Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, plus a full piece from Davidi…

  • Rumors that the Jays could be shopping Mark Buehrle or R.A. Dickey are untrue, as Anthopoulos said the club is counting on the two veterans to provide innings.  “I’ve read at various times that they’re available in trades or being shopped – completely false. They’ve never come up at any point in time, their names have never come up once, and we need them to be on this team,” the GM said.
  • The Jays could still be looking to add more outfield depth, particularly one who could provide a stolen base threat.  “In a perfect world we’d like to add some speed, obviously a guy that can play centre field but we don’t need that…Ever since we lost [Anthony] Gose, that speed element, we’ve been trying to find that guy,” Anthopoulos said.  Davidi opines that Eric Young could be a possible fit for this role.
  • Several teams have shown interest in Dioner Navarro, who wants a starting catching job that obviously is no longer available in Toronto thanks to Russell Martin‘s presence.  “If we can find the right deal for Navarro we’ll do that, we find him an everyday job, we’ll do that, but there are scenarios he can still get playing time,” Anthopoulos said, noting that Navarro could see some time at DH with the Jays.
  • Anthopoulos would “ideally…like to add more than one” reliever to the bullpen, with two new relief arms seemingly the aim.  They figure to target relief help, but it doesn’t sound like they’ll find it immediately. Anthopoulos says it’s “telling” that the Blue Jays don’t have any offers out to relievers right now.
  • Anthopoulos says that the Jays, who have already added Martin, Josh Donaldson and Michael Saunders this offseason, feel good about their position players.
  • The Jays do notloveDavid Robertson or any other player, Anthopoulos says, denying a recent report.  Anthopoulos’ comments sound mostly theoretical, however, and perhaps shouldn’t be taken as an indication that the Jays aren’t interested in Robertson.
  • Anthopoulos would not comment on reports about the future of president and CEO Paul Beeston, but said the situation would not impact the Jays’ ability to sign free agents.

West Notes: Kemp, Cabrera, Kendrick, Upton

With the Winter Meetings beginning in San Diego, this could be the week the Dodgers finally deal from their glut of outfielders, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers would prefer to hang onto Matt Kemp, according to Shaikin, but Major League players are not being offered for either Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford.

Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports the Mariners were close to a deal for Kemp with Seattle paying roughly half of the $107 million remaining on his salary over the next five years, but things fell apart when the Dodgers insisted on the inclusion of either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton. In a second article, Dutton lists the Padres and the Orioles as the Mariners’ primary competition for Kemp, with Shaikin adding the Giants are a possibility, if they fail to sign Chase Headley. With Nelson Cruz now in Seattle, Dutton opines the Mariners’ interest in Kemp will depend on what other offers the Dodgers receive. Those other offers may not be to the Dodgers’ liking, as Shaikin notes the Braves (Justin Upton and Evan Gattis), Red Sox (Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig), and Phillies (Marlon Byrd) also have right-handed power bats available to trade.

Elsewhere in baseball’s West divisions:

  • Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says the constant rumors that come with running a major market team are “comical,” but he doesn’t necessarily mind it, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Misinformation can be a powerful tool,” Friedman said.
  • The Mariners are reluctant to part with their young pitching to acquire an outfield bat, according to Dutton. “That’s a little bit of a dangerous road,” said GM Jack Zduriencik. “You look at our pitching staff, and when you analyze it, a couple of those young starters didn’t pitch a lot of innings last year.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets the Mariners are very serious about their pursuit of Melky Cabrera. Last week, it was reported the M’s are believed to be willing to offer something similar to the four-year, $57MM deal that they used to sign Cruz.
  • In a separate tweet, Rosenthal posits the Angels are reluctant to trade second baseman Howie Kendrick because of offensive concerns including uncertainity about Josh Hamilton, an unsettled DH situation, and no clear backup catcher.
  • Sources tell ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter) the Giants and Reds are great fits for Justin Upton, but neither match up well with the Braves and may need to involve a third team to swing a deal.
  • Olney also tweets the Astros continue to pursue closer David Robertson and his most lucrative offer might come from Houston.
  • Rockies GM Jeff Bridich tells Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post there has been interest in catcher Wilin Rosario, but Colorado “could very easily go into the season with Wilin.

Quick Hits: Upton, Robertson, Headley, Ethier, Mets Shortstop

Justin Upton might be the best hitter on the market, but that’s not the only reason teams want him, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports. With one year and $14.5MM remaining on his contract, Upton is a financial steal. If a team acquires him this offseason, they’ll also be looking at a free draft pick when he declines their qualifying offer. He’s in his physical prime at 27 years old, and he’s a former number one overall pick. Heyman lists the Royals, Tigers, Mariners, Orioles, and Padres as possible destinations. We can expect the Braves to receive a notable player in return – after all, they netted Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden.

  • The Yankees would like to re-sign Chase Headley and David Robertson, reports Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. However, New York refuses to go overboard, which may let other clubs swoop in on the pair of free agents. Headley is said to have a four-year, $65MM offer on the table, and the Giants are reportedly “getting aggressive.” It’s unknown at this time if San Francisco is the team that offered the $65MM deal. The Yankees aren’t expected to value Headley that highly. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays supposedly “love” Robertson, and the Astros are in on him too. After New York signed Andrew Miller last week, there is less urgency to sign another relief ace.
  • A proposed swap of Andre Ethier and Miguel Montero fell through, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Diamondbacks would have received Ethier and catcher Tim Federowicz for Montero and lower level prospects. The Dodgers would have also kicked in money to help balance the extra $16MM guaranteed to Ethier over the next three seasons. Rosenthal lists a couple reasons the deal may have fallen through. DBacks owner Ken Kendrick is a fan of Montero, and Arizona may be hesitant to trade with their former GM Josh Byrnes on the other side of the negotiations (Byrnes is now the Dodgers Sr. VP of Baseball Operations).
  • Shortstop tops the Mets wish list at the winter meetings, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. While club officials keep saying they’re comfortable with Wilmer Flores, an upgrade would be welcomed. Unfortunately for the Mets, there aren’t many options available. The Mariners have a couple shortstops, but they have talked about using Brad Miller in the outfield. Other trade targets like Alexei Ramirez, Starlin Castro, and Troy Tulowitzki strike me as unlikely to move. As we know, the free agent market is bleak. Many clubs prefer Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie at second base. The next best options, Stephen Drew and Everth Cabrera, have a lot to prove before a team trusts them as a starter.

Quick Hits: McClellan, Aoki, Young, Robertson

Former Cardinals and Rangers reliever Kyle McClellan has officially announced his retirement.  In a message on his Facebook page, McClellan explained that he was told that his shoulder simply hadn’t recovered well enough following surgery, so he decided to hang up his glove after six Major League seasons.  McClellan posted a 3.79 ERA over 387 1/3 career innings from 2008-13, spending five seasons with St. Louis (winning a World Series ring in 2011) and one in Texas.  We at MLBTR wish McClellan all the best in his retirement and congratulations on a nice career.

Here’s some news from around the baseball world…

  • The Orioles have “limited” interest in Nori Aoki, a source tells MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko.  With the O’s linked to such bigger-name free agent and trade targets as Melky Cabrera, Justin Upton and Matt Kemp, it’s safe to presume that Aoki could be more of a backup plan for the Orioles if they can’t land any of those other outfielders.
  • The Mariners‘ acquisition of J.A. Happ from the Blue Jays probably ends any chance of Chris Young returning to Seattle’s rotation, MLB.com’s Greg Johns writes as part of a reader mailbag.
  • An increasing number of agents are privately saying that they would’ve advised David Robertson to accept the Yankees’ qualifying offer, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets.  I can’t say I agree with the agents’ opinions, since it’s not like the draft pick compensation tied to Robertson via the QO has hurt his market; the closer has reportedly already received a three-year, $39MM offer and several executives think he’ll find a deal in the four-year, $50MM range.
  • Florida high schooler Brendan Rodgers holds the #1 spot on MLB.com’s rankings of the top 50 2015 draft prospects, MLB.com’s Jim Callis writes.  Rodgers, a shortstop, heads a class that still contains a lot of question marks, according to one AL scouting executive.  “It’s just wide open right now, especially at the top.  There are some nice players, but there’s a lot of gray area. There are just no elite guys who completely stand out. There’s not as much upside at the top as the past few drafts,” the executive said.
  • Former big leaguer Rico Brogna is now working as the Angels‘ quality control coach, somewhat of a troubleshooting position he tells Fangraphs’ David Laurila combines both traditional scouting analysis with advanced metrics to give his team a complete overview of a player’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Will Middlebrooks doesn’t have an obvious role on the 2015 Red Sox roster, but the third baseman tells Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald that he’s working to get healthy and wants to stay with the Sox.  “I understand the moves they had to make,” Middlebrooks said.  “For the organization we are, we have to win next year. Everyone knows that. They had to make some moves. I was hurt, been hurt a lot. You can’t rely on that.”