The New York Mets managed to pluck David Robertson away from the Philadelphia Phillies in free agency this offseason. A strong move to fortify the bullpen, Robertson came to New York on a one-year deal worth $10 million.
Robertson was 4-3 with a 2.40 ERA last year with the Phillies and Chicago Cubs. He was a closer for the latter in the regular season. In Philadelphia, he finished games and also worked in the role he’ll have with the Mets.
Buck Showalter now has another right-handed option for the eighth inning aside from Adam Ottavino who also returns for the 2023 season. Exactly what can we expect out of Robertson this upcoming year?
Setting expectations for Mets reliever David Robertson
Consistency has been a big part of Robertson’s game throughout his career. The only blips on his stat sheet came as a rookie in 2008 and again in 2019-2021 when he barely pitched due to injuries. There isn’t a single season aside from those three (he missed all of 2020) where he finished with an ERA higher than 3.82.
We probably shouldn’t expect him to be quite as dazzling as he was last year. As productive as he was, Robertson seemed to outperform expectations. This doesn’t mean he won’t turn into a great addition for the Mets or put together an ideal season. He might just be a little closer to the 2.89 ERA he has averaged in his 14 MLB seasons.
Robertson does have room to fail because of Ottavino’s presence on the roster. We shouldn’t take this as a good or bad thing. Showalter can make decisions based on whose arm is hotter at the time. Just as important, the team doesn’t have to pressure Edwin Diaz into taking the mound when he could use a little extra rest.
Landing a guy like Robertson who has closed games recently and in big situations is a huge move for the Mets. It’s a much better signing than the Jeurys Familia one after the 2018 season when the plan was to move him from closer to setup man. This is a shorter commitment and a better pitcher.
We should ask for Robertson to have an ERA not much higher than 3.00, continue to strike out batters regularly, and give us around 60 innings of work. Although control issues have been a problem in the past and were somewhat of a nuisance for him last year, what we demand most are zeroes on the scoreboard. Many appearances will include a free pass. Keeping that runner from scoring is what we desire from him. Keep Diaz's saves as short as possible to allow him to remain fresh. That's your goal, Mr. Robertson.