Phillies righty David Robertson, who negotiated a two-year, $23MM deal prior to the season on his own behalf, has undergone Tommy John Surgery and will miss the rest of this season and all of 2020, Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Robertson, 34, had been one of baseball’s premier relievers for nearly the entire decade, posting 12.8 fWAR since his breakout 2011 season, fourth highest among all MLB relievers over that span. He’d also been among the most heavily-used, tying Kenley Jansen for fourth in the majors with 521 2/3 IP over the same stretch. Add 33 2/3 postseason innings to that mark, and only Indians righty Tyler Clippard has thrown more reliever innings this decade than the 5’11 righty.
Barring an unforeseen extension or re-up clause, Robertson’s tenure with Philadelphia has likely come to an end after just 6 2/3 total IP. It’s unclear if Robertson will aim to re-stake his claim at the back-end of a big-league bullpen in coming seasons, but elbow reconstructive surgery has not been kind to mid-30s arms, and Robertson’s cutter-heavy repertoire, the staple of a unheralded mix that baffled AL hitters for years on end, may be affected more than most.
It’s the second major elbow injury in the Philly bullpen this season – youngster Seranthony Dominguez also hit the shelf in June with a UCL injury of his own. The club’s also seen lynchpins Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter, and Adam Morgan beset with maladies themselves in recent months, leaving a shaky back-end mix of Hector Neris, Nick Pivetta, Juan Nicasio, and Jose Alvarez. Not much was done to help the beleaguered pen at the deadline, so the club’ll have to hope its patchwork unit doesn’t come apart at freshly-stitched seams down the stretch.