The Angels have interest in adding right-hander David Robertson to the back of their bullpen, per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi (Twitter link). As he points out, Angels general manager Billy Eppler is quite familiar with Robertson due to his time as an assistant GM with the Yankees. While Robertson’s reported preference is to pitch in the northeastern part of the country — he’s an Alabama native but now resides in Rhode Island — the Angels could give him the opportunity to pitch in the ninth inning, which could well appeal to the self-represented veteran.
Robertson, 33, has been among the game’s most consistent relievers since emerging as a regular more than a decade ago. He’s totaled at least 60 innings and 60 appearances per season dating back to 2010 and hasn’t been on the disabled list since 2014, when he missed the minimum amount of time due to a mild groin strain. It stands to reason that for a team that has had an overwhelming barrage of injuries throughout the pitching staff, Robertson’s durability and consistency would hold extra appeal.
The Angels have run through a carousel of closers in recent seasons. Blake Parker, Cam Bedrosian, Keynan Middleton, Bud Norris, Huston Street, Andrew Bailey, Fernando Salas and Joe Smith have all logged at least six saves in a single season since 2016, and the Halos haven’t had a consistent ninth-inning presence since Street’s 40-save showing in 2015. Of that bunch, only Middleton (recovering from Tommy John surgery) and Bedrosian remain with the organization. Adding Robertson to the mix would give the Angels a much more definitive option at the back end of the ’pen and allow in-house closing candidates like Ty Buttrey, Justin Anderson and Bedrosian to pitch in a setup capacity.
Eppler and his staff have already made a pair of additions to the rotation, bringing both Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill on board last week. Those two signings pushed the Angels’ projected Opening Day payroll to around $163MM, which is more or less in line with the Opening Day payrolls authorized by owner Arte Moreno in each of the past three seasons. Adding Robertson, or virtually any other free agent of note, would push the Angels to a new record in terms of Opening Day payroll, although they finished out the 2016 and 2017 seasons with year-end payrolls in excess of $180MM following trade deadline additions.