Free agent closer David Robertson is looking to at least match, and likely top, a contract in the range of four years and $50MM, ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand reports. This is, of course, so-called “Papelbon money,” — the guaranteed portion of the deal that Jonathan Papelbon received from the Phillies in November 2011 and the richest contract ever given to a reliever.
It’s no surprise that Robertson is aiming high given that he’s the top closer on the market. MLBTR’s Steve Adams, in fact, predicted that Robertson would surpass Papelbon by finding a four-year, $52MM deal this winter. The issue with Papelbon’s still-controversial contract is that $50MM is seen by some critics as too much to guarantee to a reliever, no matter how well he might perform on the field — Papelbon has a 2.45 ERA and 106 saves in his three years with the Phillies.
Robertson, however, has fewer question marks about his future performance than Papelbon did three offseasons ago and the former Yankee is already drawing a lot of interest. If the bidding for Robertson does indeed get over the $50MM mark, however, Marchand believes the Yankees will pass on re-signing him.