When the Marlins shipped a pair of intriguing young prospects to New York in order to acquire veteran right-hander David Robertson from the Mets, it was a statement of intent to contend by Miami, as they acquired perhaps the top rental reliever available at this year’s trade deadline. It was Robertson’s second time being dealt at the deadline in as many years, as the 38-year-old veteran was swapped from the Cubs to the Phillies in exchange for pitching prospect Ben Brown 13 months ago. Sporting a 2.23 ERA in 40 1/3 innings of work at the time of that deal, Robertson went on to post similarly excellent numbers in Philadelphia with a 2.70 ERA in 22 regular season appearances down the stretch and just one run allowed in his eight postseason appearances as the Phillies headed to the World Series for the first time since 2009.
At the time of this year’s deal, Robertson was having an even better season, with a 2.05 ERA in 44 innings of work with a 27.9% strikeout rate. Unfortunately for the Marlins, he hasn’t been the shutdown closer they were expecting in ten appearances with the club. He’s posted a brutal 7.20 ERA and 6.17 FIP in ten innings since joining Miami, with just four saves in seven chances. Those brutal results have led the Marlins to remove their veteran deadline addition from the closer role entirely, according to Craig Mish of the Miami Herald. Mish suggests Tanner Scott, who sports a 2.59 ERA and 2.12 FIP in 59 innings of work this season, could replace Robertson as the club’s closer moving forward.
The move reflects the dire situation Miami finds itself in after a difficult August; at the time of the Robertson deal, the club was 54-49 and firmly in the mix for one of the NL Wild Card spots. Since then, the Marlins have gone just 12-16, falling to 65-64 and three games back of the third Wild Card spot. While that’s hardly an insurmountable deficit with more than a month to go in the season, the club is facing playoff odds of just 19.4% at this point per Fangraphs, far worse than their 49.3% odds on the day of the Robertson deal.
More from the NL East…
- Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies has been on the 10-day injured list since earlier this month with a hamstring strain, but could already be nearing a return. Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution relayed an update regarding Albies this evening, indicating that Atlanta will “see just how well he feels” tomorrow after a successful workout this afternoon. When Albies is ready to go, it seems he’ll be activated from the injured list directly, as Toscano notes that manager Brian Snitker has previously indicated the infielder won’t require a rehab assignment before returning to action. Albies, who sports a 121 wRC+ in 510 trips to the plate this season, has been covered for by Nicky Lopez and Vaughn Grissom at the keystone while he’s been on the shelf.
- The Nationals announced this afternoon that the club had optioned outfielder Blake Rutherford to Triple-A. Rutherford, a 26-year-old journeyman and former first-round pick by the Yankees who made his MLB debut with Washington earlier this month, slashed just .182/.206/.182 in 34 trips to the plate with the Nationals prior to his demotion. Rutherford’s demotion sparked rumors regarding who would replace him on the active roster, with both Bobby Blanco and Mark Zuckerman of MASN indicating that the club could look to promote catching prospect Drew Millas. Millas, the club’s 23rd-best prospect per MLB Pipeline, is a defensive-first catcher who has impressed with the bat this season, batting .291/.390/.442 in 328 trips to the plate this season between the Double-A and Triple-A levels.