White Sox GM Rick Hahn told Carmen & Jurko he expects David Robertson to be the closer in 2017. Robertson had 37 saves this season.
Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn told Carmen & Jurko he expects David Robertson to be their closer in 2017. Zack Burdi tore up the minors this season and is slotted to be the next closer. At just 21 years old, the talented right hander appears to be ready to take his talents to the big leagues.
Hahn said despite the impressive showing from Burdi in the minors, he still expects Robertson to be closing games for the White Sox. However, fans will get to see Burdi team during spring training and get the opportunity to make the roster.
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Robertson signed a four year $46 million contract with the White Sox in 2014. The past two seasons, he has 34 and 37 saves respectively, although his ERA has been 3.41 and 3.47. It’s not a great ERA, but he has been mostly effective when called in. I say mostly effective. He blew seven saves this season and there were games where he was lucky to close out. It was difficult to watch when earlier this season he blew back-to-back games where he had a three run lead.
There’s no arguing Robertson has been a decent closer for the team, but when you see that he is one of the highest paid closers, it doesn’t add up. He will make $12 million in 2017 and $13 million in 2018. If you’re going to be investing that much money in the position, he better be lights out. And Robertson has not been close to lights out in his two years with the White Sox.
I understand why they gave him the big contract. This team desperately needed someone to close out games and he was the best available. He did a great job for the Yankees succeeding Mariano Rivera. But he has not lived up to his contract. Usually the Yankees will overpay for a player, especially if it’s a free agent. However, they didn’t match or even outbid the White Sox for Robertson’s services. Now, it’s apparent why.
Burdi would be a great addition to the team and he has done well at every level. There was talk he would join the team towards the end of this season, but they opted to let him rest. A smart move on their end. It doesn’t make sense to rush a guy like this to the majors. Especially when the team had nothing to play for this season.
The big issue I have with Robertson is he’s not the best closer in baseball, but he’s being paid like it. For a team that always runs into budgetary issues, they cannot afford to give a guy $12 million who isn’t worth it. It doesn’t make sense to use that money when you have a better potential option in house. I am not criticizing the Sox for signing Robertson in 2014. But I question why they gave him such a large contract.
If they can trade him for some prospects and somehow not have to pay a large portion of his contract, it would allow them to use the money to improve the roster. This roster has a lot of holes and they need to address this in free agency. They lack depth in the organization to fill all these holes, so they need to use free agency.
Robertson has been a decent pitcher throughout his career. The only downside is his value took a hit when the Sox failed to move him at the trade deadline. However, they should still be able to get something for him. And that would give them some payroll flexibility, which is exactly what this organization needs.