Veteran reliever David Robertson recently expressed his intent to pitch during the 2023 season, stating that he feels “feels like next season will be a lot easier and I’ll be more prepared,” as reported by The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham.
After pitching to a 2.76 ERA in 626 2/3 innings (with 137 saves) from 2009-2018, Robertson joined the Phillies ahead of the 2019 season on a two-year, $23MM deal with a $12MM club option for the 2021 season ($2MM buyout). However, after only seven appearances, Robertson underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery and suffered a setback during his rehab, forcing him to miss the entire 2020 season. His club option was subsequently declined by the Phillies.
After missing the prior two seasons, the righty pivoted to the Olympics and helped Team USA qualify for the Tokyo Games. In the break before the games, the righty signed with the High Point Rockers of the Atlantic League and pitched a handful of innings. Returning home with a silver medal, Robertson joined the Rays on a major league contract and reported to Triple-A Durham before joining the major league team in September. With the Rays, Robertson pitched 12 innings, allowing 6 earned runs, and striking out 16 of the 50 batters he faced. He was selected to the Rays’ post-season roster, pitching four scoreless innings in the ALDS against the Red Sox.
After the 2021 season, Robertson signed a one-year, $3.5MM contract with the Cubs, with up to $1.5MM in incentives. In Chicago, Robertson recaptured his 2000-2018 form, pitching to a 2.23 ERA with 14 saves in 40 1/3 innings, with a robust 30.9% strikeout rate and 47.8% groundball rate — albeit with a high 11.5% walk rate.
Robertson’s strong performance on a rebuilding team made him a top trade target at the deadline, and on August 2nd he was shipped to Philadelphia in exchange for pitching prospect Ben Brown. Robertson continued his strong work with the Phillies, pitching to a 2.70 ERA in 23 1/3 innings with a 30.3% strikeout rate. However, Robertson’s walk rate increased to a high 16.2% and his groundball rate fell to 43.4%.
After missing the NLDS due to a hurt calf suffered celebrating Bryce Harper’s home run, Robertson returned to the Phillies’ bullpen, pitching 2 2/3 innings in the NLCS, allowing one run, and pitching a scoreless inning (so far) in the World Series. Robertson is a free agent when the 2022 season concludes, and joins a deep reliever market including Aroldis Chapman, Edwin Diaz, Kenley Jansen, and teammate Corey Knebel.