Years ago I was sitting down with two bosses interviewing an employee to become an assistant of mine. They asked him the salary at his current position and it was more than they were paying me. I got a raise two hours later to match what this random guy’s company he wanted to leave was paying him. The moral of the story is sometimes you get an unaccepted promotion. This is what happened to New York Mets reliever David Robertson last week.
Robertson signed with the Mets this offseason for $10 million. Notably far less than I’ve made in my lifetime, his purpose was to give them quality innings in the seventh and eighth while occasionally finishing games in place of Edwin Diaz. Nobody thought we’d be without Diaz for the entire 2023 season. It’s forcing Robertson into a role he has experienced plenty of in the past.
To better understand what we’re getting into, I thought it would be a good time to do a deeper dive into his history in save situations and the ninth inning.
A look at how NY Mets pitcher David Robertson has performed in the closer role
In 355 games in save situations, Robertson has gone 8-16 with a 2.56 ERA. He has held batters to a .199/.278/.325 slash line during those 348.1 innings of work.
It should be noted that save situations extend beyond just the ninth inning. The owner of 157 career saves, many of Robertson’s innings were as a setup man. Because of this, I felt a look at his performance in the ninth inning is important.
In 289.1 innings of work in the ninth, Robertson has given up a slash line of .207/.289/.354. He has pitched more frames in the ninth than any other with only the eighth topping 100 in his long career. Robertson’s career numbers in the seventh and eighth have been better. Most notably, it’s his ninth inning ERA we should be troubled by.
A 2.05 ERA in the seventh and 2.38 ERA in the eighth is impressive. When pitching in the ninth inning, Robertson has been tagged for a 3.48 ERA in 289.1 innings of work. This isn’t good enough.
Robertson is the obvious choice for the Mets to close games most frequently at the start of the 2023 season. His experience and success in the highest of leverage situations makes him a natural replacement. As successful as he has been, many of those saves may not be the cleanest.
Fortunately, some of those troubling ninth inning performances weren’t in save situations and happened earlier in his career. We’ll keep our faith in Robertson to get the job down while keeping an eye out for other options as we get closer to the trade deadline.