The Importance of Robertson for the Phillies’ Championship Hopes

On Monday afternoon, David Robertson, the self represented relief pitcher, officially signed a 2 year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies worth $23 million and a club option for a 3rd year for $12 million.

(Courtesy: NBSN Philly)

David Robertson fills a need in the bullpen for another high leverage arm to pair with Seranthony Dominguez in the late innings. Early assumptions are that these two will both operate in any situation possible, as analytically inclined manager Gabe Kapler will once again go closer by committee. Very quietly this bullpen could be one of the best in baseball as D-Rob and Dominguez will also pair with Pat Neshek and (hopefully improved) Hector Neris. Robertson is one of the only two relievers (along with Tyler Clippard) to pitch at least 60 innings in every season since 2010. Philadelphia was in the market for a LHP such as Andrew Miller or Zach Britton, but both of them wanted an extra year that GM Matt Klentak was unwilling to guarantee, which brought D-Rob into the fold. Although he is right handed, his stats per Fangraphs are actually elite vs left handed hitters compared to his “good” numbers vs right handed hitter. In 2018 with 32.2 innings solely against LHH he had a 14.6 K/9, good for 40.2% of all plate appearances by lefties against him. Throughout his whole career 1301 left handed batters have hit a measly .186/.267/.278 (BAA/OBP/SLG) against him. Robertson has not showed any sign of decline and the Phillies will be ecstatic if he has a season similar to his last 9.

Robertson has been on of the best, and most consistent relievers of the past decade

Klentak has eluded to his off-season checklist a few times and so far he has done a great job not overpaying and improving the roster to fit around a superstar (more to come).

  • 1. Sign a Superstar- Still in progress
  • 2. Upgrade the Defense- Yes (Segura and moving Hoskins back to first)
  • 3. Upgrade the Bullpen- Yes (Robertson, Nicasio, Pazos)
  • 4. Move Rhys Hoskins back to 1B- Yes
  • 5. Upgrade the Offense- Yes (Segura, Cutch, and hopefully Manny or Bryce)

Although there are reports that SS/3B Manny Machado likely to join the New York Yankees, according to NBCSN Philly reporter Jim Salisbury, “he is still the Phillies main focus.” Even if upper management would prefer Machado, Harper should be the main option. There is only one player that casual fans would recognize outside of the diamond and that is Bryce Harper. Harper had one of the best seasons in history in 2015 when he was only 23 years old posting a .330/.460/.649 with a 9.3 fWAR and 42 home runs. My (realistic) ideal scenario of the rest of the off-season would consist of the following (kudos to @Theprocess10 on twitter)

  • 1. Sign Bryce Harper to a 12 year 400 million dollar contract
  • 2. Sign Jed Lowrie to a 2 year 17 million dollar contract
  • 3. Trade Zach Eflin, Maikel Franco, Juan Nicasio, Arquimedes Gamboa, and Nick Williams to the Texas Rangers for Mike Minor and Jose Leclerc
  • 4. Sign Jayson Werth to coach 1st base (and help convince Bryce to sign in the greatest city of the world)
  • 5. Contend for a World Series
Will Jayson Werth return to Philadelphia?

The Philadelphia Phillies off-season of spending “stupid money” has actually been a string of really smart moves and just needs the finishing touches to officially bring this franchise back to the playoffs consistently like the last nucleus built around Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Cole Hamels. The current additions of Segura, Robertson, McCutchen, and hopefully Lowrie allow the club to compete right now and give time to top prospects such as Alec Bohm, Sixto Sanchez, Luis Garcia, and Adam Haseley. Picture it now: October 27, 2020 Game 7 in New York vs the Yanks a lineup of…

  1. 2B Cesar Hernandez
  2. SS Jean Segura
  3. RF Bryce Harper
  4. 1B Rhys Hoskins
  5. DH Andrew McCutchen
  6. CF Odubel Hererra
  7. 3B Jed Lowrie
  8. LF Scott Kingery
  9. C Jorge Alfaro
  10. P Aaron Nola
Could Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper lead the Phillies to a championship?

…after young stud reliever Seranthony Domiguez relieves Nola in the 8th, Jose Leclerc gets out of a 2 out jam. The Phillies then bring in former Yankee David Robertson who proceeds to strike out Judge, Stanton, and Machado 1-2-3 and your Philadelphia Phillies are 2020 WORLD CHAMPS!

With GM Matt Klentak’s moves so far are a good start to bring the bright, young team into championship contention, he has set up the organization to sign a mega-superstar. All that remains, in the months that have been pointed to for years as the turning point for Philadelpia Baseball, is get Manny Machado or Bryce Harper to put pen to paper and a few more slight tweaks to consistently make championship runs for the next 5-10 years.

Follow Jordan on twitter @JordanSkversky

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