Aug 24, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcherDavid Robertson
(30) pitches during the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. New York Yankees won 7-4 in ten innings. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
What A Relief
The most glaring weakness for the Sox heading into this offseason was their bullpen. White Sox relievers had the second highest ERA, and highest FIP, of any bullpen in the American League in 2014, according to Fangraphs. The biggest takeaway from the winter meetings is the lengths the team was willing to go to turn the White Sox biggest weakness into arguably their biggest strength. Signing David Robertson, a top-tier closer, to a lucrative contract and trading for LHP Dan Jennings put the league on notice that the White Sox were, indeed, done rebuilding.
If a team is going to spend money, they should spend it on a player that can perform successfully and consistently. Robertson seems to fit the bill.
David Robertson has only been a full-time closer for one year, but it’s because he was pitching in front of one of the greatest closers of all time, Mariano Rivera. As soon as he was handed the reigns to the position in 2014, he flourished, savings 39 games in 44 opportunities, while posting a 2.68 FIP and 1.06 WHIP.
What amazes me about Robertson is his consistency. He has posted an FIP lower than 2.70 and a WHIP lower than 1.20 each of the last four seasons. He has also boasted a K/9 (strike outs per nine innings) greater than 10.0 in each of his seven major league seasons.
When the terms of the deal were first reported, $56 million over four years, I couldn’t believe the team was willing to commit that much cash to a closer. However, if a team is going to spend money, they should spend it on a player that can perform successfully and consistently. Robertson seems to fit the bill.
Dan Jennings is an interesting acquisition, in that nobody saw this one coming. Jennings will only be 28 at the start of next season, and has three seasons of major league experience to his credit.
He owns a career 2.43 ERA and 3.57 FIP. CSNChicago’s Dan Hayes wrote that White Sox pitching coach, Don Cooper, “likes what he has seen on video…” and he already, “intends to make a mechanical alteration.” The mechanical alteration might be needed, as Jennings has posted a 1.46 WHIP during his career.
It’s clear the potential is there for Jennings to be a stalwart in the ‘pen under the tutelage of Cooper. The trade for Jennings gives the Sox two solid LHP options in the bullpen before throwing the possible springtime addition of Carlos Rodon into the equation.