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Yankees missed their chance to re-sign David Robertson at a “discount”

Aug 8, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

David Robertson AP

David Robertson has been fantastic taking over for Mariano Rivera as the Yankees’ closer, converting 31-of-33 save chances with a 2.62 ERA, .191 opponents’ batting average, and 71 strikeouts in 45 innings.

None of which should be a surprise, because for five seasons Robertson was one of the elite setup men in baseball. However, with free agency right around the corner this offseason it’s definitely ideal timing for Robertson, who looks set to cash in big on the open market at age 29.

He might end up re-signing with the Yankees, but it’ll cost them a whole lot more than it would have six months ago when Robertson was apparently willing to give them a hometown discount. Here’s what he recently told George King of the New York Post:

I thought the calls would come but at this point right now I am going to wait and see how the season plays out. It would have to be a legit offer at this point of the year. This offseason I probably would have gone for a discount, although I wasn’t a closer.

New York has another stud setup man in Dellin Betances, but it’ll be interesting to see if the Yankees outbid everyone else to keep Robertson at a premium price tag.

  1. jbriggs81 - Aug 8, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    The qualifying offer at the end of this season is probably going to be in the ballpark of 15 million dollars. Would he forego the QO to try and land a three or even four year deal with an average annual value of probably around 11-13 million? Especially when the draft pick compensation is working against him here? It seems a bit risky to try free agency for him, when he will likely have 15 mil on the table.

    Ultimately, I bet there is no way the Yanks allow him to go. He’s worth the market price and they will pay market price. Him and Betances in the 8th and 9th innings is shut down baseball

    • twinfan24 - Aug 8, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      He has pitched well, but $15 million for a closer is a lot of money. But, then again, they are the Yankees, so money will be less of an issue than for others.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 8, 2014 at 5:37 PM

        Well, it is unless your last name is Amaro!

      • greymares - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:15 PM

        Looks like a place for the NATURE BOY Jonathon Papelbon. Lol.

  2. johnnysoda - Aug 8, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    As far as I’m concerned, the Yankees would be foolish to break up such a lock-down combination in the back two innings. Sure, Betances is closer material, but who knows how good a potential replacement set-up man would be?

  3. edelmanfanclub - Aug 8, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    I feel like if Robertson gone and the Yankees will prob plug Betances into the closer role. They would need a 8th inning guy though, so I could see them paying a hefty price for Robertson ( or just likely QO), but Betances gives them leverage in long term deals.

  4. jfk69 - Aug 8, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    A one or two year deal with an option is likely. Crazy money for a closer, unless that closers name is Mariano,are over. With Betances ready to step in and a draft pick attached David might soon find out that while financial security is nice. Playing for a winning Yankee team for a little less is also very nice. Just ask Troy Tulowitzki how he feels playing for a perennial loser.

  5. Kevin S. - Aug 8, 2014 at 6:10 PM

    If he takes the QO, spectacular. I have no problem paying D-Rob that money on a one-year deal. But no reliever not named Mariano Rivera should get the contracts top-end closers get in FA these days. If he declines it, take the draft pick and move on.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Aug 8, 2014 at 6:22 PM

      Also, as Axisa mentioned on the RAB chat today, accepting the QO doesn’t preclude the Yanks for offering a two year deal (2year + option?).

      • Kevin S. - Aug 8, 2014 at 6:25 PM

        Sure, but I wouldn’t be willing to commit more than two years. He’ll get a better deal, IMO.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Aug 8, 2014 at 6:34 PM

        Depending on the money involved, I’d do two with a vesting option for games finished (say 80 over the next two years?).

      • Kevin S. - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:44 PM

        80 over the next two is nothing. Games Finished is always going to be somewhat larger than saves. I’ll poke around on Cot’s a bit, but GF vesting options are typically like 55 for one year and 100 over two years, IIRC.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:00 PM

        Okay, Papelbon’s deal is 55 GF in the last year or 100 in the last two, limited NTC and the option was for the same price as the previous three years. K-Rod’s deal with the Mets was also 55/100, but he had a buyout, a much higher option salary, incentives for GF on top of the vesting and had to be medically cleared by a doctor following the last guaranteed season. Nathan’s last two deals haven’t included vesting options, but 55/110 affected the contracts. Same with Soria. I’m getting a little bored with this exercise now, and it’s all kind of moot, since Robertson’s getting way more than two plus a vesting option.

  6. lukedunphysscienceproject - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    Nonsense. Never overpay for a closer. With a few exceptions, closer is highly fungible position, IMO. A closer is a relief pitcher who happens to work the 9th inning. Who has more pressure on them- the pitcher who comes into a game in the 7th or 8th with the bases loaded in a tie game, or the pitcher who comes in to start the 9th with a lead and no one base?

    Mariano was great, no doubt. But the year he got hurt the Yankees went to the ALCS with Rafael Soriano closing.

    Give him a fair offer. If he balks, he walks. Betances is just as good as he is anyway. And for people saying, but then who would pitch the 8th!?!?!? Guess what, that the same question people asked when Rivera retired and Robertson became the closer. You can run your organization based upon the fear that you won’t be able to replace someone. That’s a losers lament.

    • lukedunphysscienceproject - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:21 PM

      “can’t run your organization” is what I obviously meant.

    • genericcommenter - Aug 9, 2014 at 2:39 AM

      You are right, but because of the way they tend to run the bullpen “promotions” that’s just how it comes up. Robertson pitched higher leverage situations for years. This year his success as closer is no surprise- because it’s probably easier than his previous role any way. I would worry a lot more about “who would pitch the 8th” than the closer- because every really good 8th inning guy (or true “fireman” who comes in whenever needed and shuts it down) wants to become a closer for the money/prestige. So, inevitably the best relievers are “promoted” to what might be a less valuable role at higher cost. The best reliever, whether he pitches 7th, 8th, 9th, is going to be hard to replace.

  7. ch0psuey - Aug 9, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Yankees. *Yawn*. next.

  8. slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 9, 2014 at 12:30 AM

    I don’t know,71 Ks in 45 innings,191 avg,31 for 33?

    The boy is gonna get PAID. They can take the draft pick if they want,but no way is he taking the QO.

  9. pisano - Aug 9, 2014 at 1:36 AM

    His bargaining power isn’t going to be what he thinks it will be, there’s a guy named Betances that could take his job right now, so with the rest of the year to gain more experience, I wouldn’t get real uppity on asking for stupid money, or he’ll be looking for another team. His numbers look good, but you can ask any Yankees, ( I watch every game ) he’s on the edge of blowing saves a lot of the time, saves aren’t automatic as they were with Mariano.

    • genericcommenter - Aug 9, 2014 at 2:51 AM

      Saves weren’t even that automatic with Mo. He blew World Series games.

  10. pisano - Aug 9, 2014 at 1:39 AM

    Meant to say, you can ask any Yankee fan.

  11. syphermce - Aug 9, 2014 at 3:27 AM

    When it comes to players contacts, I don’t think the Yankees really care about a “discount,” as long as they feel the player can contribute to the club.

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