Rangers, David Robertson Agree to Terms

David Robertson
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The Texas Rangers‘ pursuit of pitching continued on Thursday afternoon, as they agreed to terms with right-handed reliever David Robertson. The deal, which is pending a physical, is for one year in the $11-12 million range, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN. The Rangers have recently shown interest in Robertson, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.

Switching Leagues

David Robertson split time with two NL East teams in 2023. He originally signed a one-year, $10 million contract with the New York Mets. Initially tabbed as a setup man, he was pushed into the closer’s role by the Edwin Díaz injury. Robertson’s time in Queens ended up briefer than he or the team envisioned because the club quickly fell out of contention. That wasn’t any fault of his, as Robertson had an excellent 40-game run as a member of the Mets.

Robertson threw 44 innings with a 2.05 ERA, striking out nearly 28% of opposing hitters. For a second straight summer, he was one of the better rental relievers at the deadline. The Mets flipped him to the Miami Marlins for minor league prospects Marco Vargas and Ronald Hernandez.

Late Game Struggles

While the Marlins secured a Wild Card berth, Robertson wasn’t immediately effective. He had a tough first month in South Florida, allowing 13 runs, 10 earned, with six walks and 10 strikeouts over 10 innings in August. He was taken out of the closer’s role towards the end of that month. Robertson responded with a much better September, striking out 19 while allowing two runs over his final 10 1/3 innings.

Despite his issues early in the second half, the former All-Star had another productive year. He finished the season with an ERA of 3.03 through 65 1/3 innings. Robertson fanned an above-average 29% of batters faced against a manageable 9.3% walk rate. He missed bats on 12.6% of his overall offerings.

Much Needed Help

It’s no secret that the Rangers’ goal was to add to their bullpen this winter. They had been among the perceived frontrunners for Héctor Neris, one of the top unsigned relief pitchers. They were also recently linked to Ryan Brasier. Robertson, who turns 39 in April, is available on a one-year pact. Neris and Brasier each have a shot at two years, with Neris likely to top the overall guarantee that Robertson secured.

Robertson is the second free agent relief acquisition of the offseason for GM Chris Young and his front office. The Rangers inked Kirby Yates to a $4.5 million deal during the Winter Meetings. They lost a trio of relievers to free agency. Aroldis ChapmanWill Smith, and Chris Stratton have all landed elsewhere. That left the relief corps as the shakiest part of the defending champions’ roster. Robertson and Yates join Josh Sborz as bridge options to closer José Leclerc. The Rangers could still stand to add a left-hander after Brock Burke turned in a middling 2023 season.

 

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