White Sox rumored to rebuilding this offseason. Could the team’s closer be on the move in a potential firesale?
While many pundits around the game are speculating about a Chicago White Sox rebuild, most of the rumors have surrounded Chris Sale. However, there is a relief pitcher that could fetch the organization a solid haul; that being closer David Robertson. There are several reasons for this, and once he recovers from his left knee surgery he could be underrated trade asset of the Sox.
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Why trade Robertson? Well, if the Sox aren’t going to contend in the near future it doesn’t make sense to have a closer with two years and $25 million remaining on his contract. On top of that, Robertson has been solid at the back end of the bullpen for the Sox, and could still be elsewhere.
That is crucial because many contending teams are trying to shorten the game. With Robertson, they would be acquiring a pitcher that has saved no less than 34 games since 2014. His WHIP has been impressive, as it has been no higher than 1.36 since he became a full-time closer at the MLB level.
Outside of 2016, Robertson rarely walks batters. To prove this point, Robertson has allowed 68 free passes over 190 innings over the last three seasons. To top that off, he has fanned 257 hitters in that same span, which equals a BB/K rate of 3.78/1. That is impressive to say the least, as 3/1 is seen as elite for many pitchers.
With all of that said, how valuable is Robertson on the market? With Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman, and Kenley Jansen available to sign with anyone, Robertson’s market may be slow to develop. However, once Robertson proves to be completely healed from his knee surgery, there is no reason to believe trade partners won’t exist for the Sox in his case.
Well, if the Sox can move Robertson, what should they expect for him? It is unlikely the Sox would receive an Andrew Miller or Chapman type of return, however look at what happened between the Giants and Brewers.
San Francisco dealt top 100 prospect Phil Bickford for a left-handed reliever this summer, and not an elite one in Will Smith. Even though Smith may be a lefty, he has nowhere near the value of Robertson regardless of the two years left on his deal. So, expect something of value coming back to the Sox if they can move Robertson.
All in all, Robertson is worth more to the Sox in terms of prospects than he is on the roster if they do indeed rebuild. As mentioned throughout the article, he is more than a capable closer, not to mention he has the ability to pitch in the 8th inning which he did before Mariano Rivera retired.
This upcoming season may be a trying one for Sox fans. It may rival 2013, not in terms of talent on the field but in results. There will be a fair share of good young players on this team, they will just need time to develop. While this process will be painful, it has the chance to be rewarding. Be patient, Sox fans.