Don’t Discount David Robertson As Bullpen Option For Red Sox In Trade

Past his prime? Yes, but Robertson, 37, could still be useful

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After dropping two out of three to the Cubs, the Red Sox probably didn’t enjoy their visit to Chicago all that much this past weekend. But they got a close look at the many Cubs players likely to be on the trade market ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline.

One of those players, relief pitcher David Robertson, might not immediately elicit World Series dreams. Yet the 37-year-old warrants more than passing consideration by Boston.

After two scoreless saves against the Red Sox, Robertson is down to a 1.72 ERA and 0.926 WHIP in 28 appearances this season. He looks very much like the shutdown reliever he was for years with the New York Yankees, even though he’s a decade past his prime.

For a team in need of every type of pitching help, a player like Robertson — likely eyeing one last postseason hurrah — could be precisely what Boston needs.

A recent deep dive into Robertson’s pitch usage and performance data by MLB.com’s David Adler suggests Robertson would be more than a consolation prize for whatever contender, if any, lands him before the deadline. His cutter, curveball and slider are lively, and it’s not as though the Cubs have been babying him, either; his 31 1/3 innings pitched this season are more than any current Red Sox reliever besides Tanner Houck.

While Robertson wouldn’t be a long-term investment, that’s more of an added positive to acquiring him, rather than a negative. You wouldn’t want to hitch yourself to an aging reliever for multiple years, so the fact that Robertson is only signed through the end of the season only makes him more enticing.

Exactly what type of package it would require to land Robertson is unclear, although the Red Sox are far from alone in wanting to add pitching. An NBC Sports Chicago ranking recently placed Robertson as the Cubs’ No. 1 trade chip. So the rest of baseball is just as aware of Robertson’s resurgence as Boston might be.

Still, it seems as though many casual fans haven’t caught on. If and when Robertson is moved, the news might get merely a passing tweet and be overlooked by any bigger names — such as his Cubs teammate Ian Happ — on the market. Don’t sleep on Robertson, though. He could be the piece that makes a difference in October — for the Red Sox or anyone else.

Chicago Cubs left fielder Ian Happ
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