Phillies Sign Veteran Closer Robertson
It was not superstar infielder Manny Machado who made his free agent decision between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday. Instead, it was veteran closer David Robertson. The Phillies announced that the club has signed the reliever to a two-year deal with an option for a third.
The Phillies considered other options for their bullpen along the way. The first was Andrew Miller, who signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. They also considered left-handed reliever Zach Britton. Britton remains unsigned.
In Robertson they get a veteran, known quantity who they will use to help bring along reliever Seranthony Dominguez as a potential long-term closer. It is very possible that the Phillies do not use Robertson as a traditional closer; the club could do what the Cleveland Indians have done with success: Have a ninth inning reliever paired with a high-leverage reliever who will enter the game in big spots.
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler was excited about the deal and took to Twitter to speak to Phillies fans:
Robertson was with the New York Yankees from 2008 through 2014, when he signed a four-year free agent deal with the Chicago White Sox. During year three, the White Sox traded Robertson back to the Yankees in a deal that also sent reliever Tommy Kahnle to the club. Robertson became a free agent at season's end.
Robertson turns 34 in April. The deal guarantees 2019 and 2020, and includes an option for 2021. The deal guarantees $23 million total and can become $33 million if his option for 2021 is exercised. Jayson Stark of the Athletic first noted the Phillies interest earlier today.
Lifetime, Robertson is 53-32 with a 2.88 earned run average and 137 saves.