- ESPN MLB insider
Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”
Free-agent reliever David Robertson has agreed with the Philadelphia Phillies on a two-year, $23 million contract that includes a third-year club option, a source familiar with the agreement told ESPN.
The 33-year-old Robertson is expected to slot into the back end of the Phillies’ bullpen alongside Seranthony Dominguez, giving manager Gabe Kapler a pair of right-handers to call upon in the ninth inning.
Robertson, who has passed his physical, will make $10 million in 2019 and $11 million in 2020, the source said. A $12 million option for 2021 includes a $2 million buyout.
An 11-year veteran who has spent most of his career with the Yankees, Robertson went 8-3 with five saves and a 3.23 ERA in 69 relief appearances last season for a Yankees bullpen that was third in the American League with a 3.38 ERA. New York expects to add another reliever and has been in discussions with free agent Zach Britton, league sources told ESPN.
Robertson had quality regular-season splits that were almost identical pre- and post-All-Star break, a testament to his consistency. He excelled at helping get leads to closer Aroldis Chapman, who had 32 saves in 34 chances last season. Robertson’s WHIP ranked seventh among AL relievers who pitched at least 60 innings, and opponents hit .183 against him.
Robertson, who negotiated the deal himself, is 53-32 with a 2.88 ERA and 137 saves in 654 relief appearances with the Yankees and Chicago White Sox. He enjoyed a breakout 2011 season as Mariano Rivera’s setup man, going 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in 70 appearances.
Since 2010, Robertson has thrown 583 innings, the third most by any pitcher as a reliever in that span, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He also has the most wins by a reliever (47) and the fourth-best ERA (2.72, minimum 500 innings pitched) in that span.