Would veteran closer be a good fit for New York Mets? White Sox haven’t traded closer yet, but could before trading deadline.
In the midst of numerous trade rumors, Chicago White Sox closer David Robertson has tried his best to keep his mind focused on the upcoming season. Robertson has seen former teammates Chris Sale and Adam Eaton traded this past offseason, but could he be the next domino to fall?
Robertson, 31, came off a solid second year as the Sox closer. He finished the 2016 season with a respectable 3.47 ERA and finished fourth in the American League in saves with 37. Robertson signed a 4 year/$46M contract with the White Sox prior to the 2015 season.
With half of his current contract up, there is still two years remaining with $25M on the contract. Like every good team in the game of baseball today, you need to have a good bullpen in order to win. The Kansas City Royals in 2014-2015 built a “three headed monster” in the back of their bullpen that helped them win two pennants.
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Along with both teams in the World Series last season, the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, acquired top of the line bullpen talent to carry both of their teams to the World Series. With the Sox continuing to tear down the veteran core of their team, it’s only a matter of time until the 31-year-old closer is moved.
When Eaton was traded to the Washington Nationals, the Nasty Nats wanted to include Robertson in that deal but it never came to fruition. Still, Nats GM Mike Rizzo has stayed persistent of the closer all offseason as the Nationals have failed to land any of the “big name” closers this offseason (Jansen, Chapman, Melancon). In recent weeks, it has been reported that the Nationals and White Sox have been in a “stalemate” as of late as the Sox were looking to acquire top catching prospect Pedro Severino in a Robertson deal.
With all of that in mind and in a weird twist of events, there is another team in the National League that makes just as much if not more sense for Robertson: the New York Mets. This past December, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News mentioned any talks with the Mets and Sox would begin with Michael Conforto as part of a return for the South Siders
With the Sox in dire need of outfield help for the imminent future, Conforto would be a young affordable piece with a high ceiling that the Sox are looking for. The Mets have a set outfield for their upcoming season with Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes. Juan Lagares and top prospect Brandon Nimmo also make things even more crowded in the Mets outfield; allowing the Mets to trade Conforto based on lack of roster space.
Conforto, 24, had a rough sophomore year season in 2016 hitting a woeful .220 with 14 home runs after coming off a impressive rookie season. Conforto can take the spot of left fielder Melky Cabrera after the 2017 season and see if he’s able to reach his potential.
A huge incentive for the Mets to also acquire Robertson is the suspension dealt to current Mets closer Jeurys Familia. Familia can be suspended up to thirty games for a domestic violence dispute that occurred back in November. Familia saved a National League leading 51 saves last season for the Mets. The acquisition of Robertson can solve two instant problems the Mets are dealing with: Familia’s suspension and the need for another set-up man. Robertson has good success and track record in both roles out of the bullpen. Building a bullpen of Familia-Robertson-Reed will leave opponent hitters lost all season long.
Unfortunately, Robertson has a full no trade clause to the New York Mets. A no trade clause can be waived at anytime by the player. This has happened before in MLB as the Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler trade opened the eyes of some baseball fans as Fielder waived his no trade to Texas and decided to go there.
Robertson is also a consummate professional who has mastered pitching in New York; a feat not too many other pitchers have accomplished. Robertson was drafted by the New York Yankees back in 2006, but contributed heavily to their franchise from 2008-2014. He was considered an elite set up man to Mariano Rivera and got to secede Rivera in 2014 as his first year as a closer.
There have been no indications that the Mets and Sox have renewed talks about Robertson. If the Mets look to compete with the Nationals for a division title this season and the Sox are looking for a potential All-Star in the outfield, the time is now for the Sox to send Robertson packing; with the Big Apple being the perfect destination.