Could the Washington Nationals look to add White Sox closer David Robertson before the trade deadline?
After Tuesday night’s ninth inning disaster against the Cleveland Indians, it is clear that the Washington Nationals need to add a closer. While Andrew Miller of the Yankees and Wade Davis of the Royals might require a lot of prospects, the Nats are reportedly looking to add more bullpen help. Check out this tweet today from Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network:
If the Washington Nationals deem the price to be too much for Davis or Miller, one name that could be an option is Chicago White Sox closer David Robertson. Coming into tonight’s game against the Cubs, Robertson is 24-for-28 in saves with a very high ERA (4.35).
On Tuesday, Jayson Stark of ESPN wrote that Robertson is one of the relievers that the Washington Nationals are targeting along with Davis and Miller, but he probably wouldn’t cost the team any of its top prospects in a deal.
"“The asking price for Robertson — who has a 4.46 ERA, not to mention $25 million left on his contract in 2017 and 2018 — would figure to be significantly lower, particularly if the Nationals were to take on most of his salary.”"
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When you look at Robertson’s numbers, he has become more hittable each of the last two months. After opponents were hitting under .200 in April and May, they have hit .291 and .303 in June and July respectively.
Robertson has given up six home runs this season, but three of them came in the ninth inning on July 24 against the Tigers (blown save). Since joining the White Sox in 2014, the 31-year-old right-hander has blown 11 saves and has an ERA of 3.78 in 100 appearances.
Before he joined the White Sox, Robertson was with the New York Yankees from 2008-2012. He filled numerous roles with New York, including being the closer in 2014 when he was 39-for-44 in saves. From 2011-2013, Robertson didn’t have an ERA higher than 2.67 and he made 70 appearances in two of those seasons.
This season, Robertson’s strikeouts per nine innings are at 10.9 (fourth lowest of his career) and his 4.6 walks per nine innings are the fourth highest of his career. This means he isn’t missing as many bats and his command is off. His 4.13 FIP (fielding independent pitching is the highest of his career as well.
Like Jonathan Papelbon, the Washington Nationals current closer, Robertson does not have great velocity on his fastball. According to Fangraphs, the average velocity on his fastball is about 92 miles per hour to go with a changeup and a curveball.
While Robertson wouldn’t be a terrible plan B if the Washington Nationals can’t get Miller or Davis, he would be a piece I would use in the eighth inning because I look at Papelbon as the better closer between those two pitchers. If anything, Robertson would be a good setup man (2.01 career ERA in the eighth) and he could be the closer next year.
Even though I wouldn’t be opposing to adding Robertson as another reliever in the Washington Nationals bullpen, he wouldn’t be the instant upgrade that Davis or Miller would be late in games. Plus, his control problems and lack of strikeouts wouldn’t make him that much of an upgrade over Papelbon. All in all, I don’t think Robertson would be a good fit in DC.