With Chris Sale in Boston, should the Washington Nationals look to make another trade with the White Sox?
The Chris Sale sweepstakes were finally decided yesterday as the Washington Nationals lost out to the Boston Red Sox, However, that doesn’t mean the Nats can’t work out a deal with the White Sox for other players since Chicago has to have good knowledge of their farm system by now.
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With the price for elite closers continuing to skyrocket, one name to consider as a possible option is the current closer of the White Sox, David Robertson. Robertson has two years left on his deal worth $25 million, but as Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports and MLB Network said on Twitter, his value continues to increase:
Robertson @DRob30 value is rising with closer prices. Any of the Chapman/Jansen runnersup makes sense. Yanks like him.
Robertson appeared in 62 games for the White Sox this past season and was 37-for-44 in save chances to go with a 3.47 ERA. In his two seasons as the White Sox closer, he has blown 14 combined saves. Plus, his WHIP of 1.36 in 2016 was much higher than it was in 2015 (0.93).
While the ERA’s were about the same the last two years (3.41 to 3.47), the walk rate went up drastically in 2016. After having a career-low 1.8 walks per nine innings in 2015, it went up to 4.6 in 2016 (fourth highest of his career). As for the strikeout rate, this year’s total of 10.8 was the fourth lowest of his career.
The numbers aren’t great for Robertson, but the one thing to like about him is his versatility and his ability to pitch in a setup role. That would explain why the Yankees might like him as a setup man for Dellin Betances should they fail to sign Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen.
In his career in the eighth inning, the 31-year-old right-hander (32 in April) has a 2.01 ERA in the eighth inning with teams hitting .204. He may get Washington Nationals fans nervous when he puts runners on, but he seems to find a way more often than not out of those situations.
The pitch that Robertson goes to when he’s ahead in the count is his breaking ball. This past season, teams hit .143 against Robertson’s breaking ball and struck out 46 times. With two strikes, that batting average is down to .059 (both of those numbers according to Brooks Baseball).
If Dusty Baker and the Washington Nationals were to use Robertson in the eighth inning, they could let Blake Treinen, Shawn Kelley, or maybe Reynaldo Lopez (if he isn’t traded) a chance to close. If any of those options falter, Robertson is waiting in the wings to take over as the closer.