On Jan. 3, the Philadelphia Phillies added a strong component of the star-studded New York Yankees bullpen to their own, with the signing of David Robertson. The deal is good for two years and $23 million along with a $12 million club option.
Robertson was mostly used as a middle innings guy, although he certainly has the talent to be more than just that. The only reason he was not utilized as a set up or closer is because of how talented that bullpen really was. With Dellin Betances, Zach Britton and Aroldis Chapman getting the majority of the final innings, Robertson was moved up in the games. This does not mean he was not useful though.
The 33-year-old righty has a career ERA of 2.88, 137 saves and 874 strikeouts in comparison to his 260 walks. He features a great back and forth between his high velocity fastball and great command of his changeup. He also has a devastating curveball.
It was clear that the Phillies needed pitching help in both the starting rotation and the bullpen. This move is an amazing step forward for the 2019 season. Of the two sides of pitching, the bullpen was more desperate for new names. Robertson could realistically become the closer for this squad, as that position was always in question this past season.
In regard to the starting rotation, if looking at the list of names, the rotation really should not have struggled as much as it did. Jake Arrieta and Vince Velasquez both seemed poised for big seasons, and both struggled. Them correcting themselves this offseason seems realistic from the eyes the coaching staff, so only two more spots need to be determined. It could be reusing Nick Pivetta and Zach Eflin. We may also see the MLB debuts of Sixto Sanchez, Franklyn Kilome or they fish for bigger names like Dallas Keuchel or Robbie Ray, we will see what will come in the upcoming months.
The final alternative of the final two starting slots does not seem likely since the Phillies are prioritizing the search for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado over anything else. If their contracts result as large as rumored, they would not have the cap space for contracts like Keuchel. It does not seem like the Phillies think they need much more help with pitching. That could be a good sign coming from the coaching staff to keep their confidence within what they already have. From here on out, Philadelphia will have their sights set on the two franchise players talked about this entire offseason.
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