The Chicago White Sox have agreed to sign relief pitcher David Robertson to a four-year, $46 million deal, Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports report.
The signing of Robertson represents yet another big transaction for the White Sox this offseason, as they have signed Zach Duke and Adam LaRoche, to help their bullpen and lineup, respectively, while also giving their rotation a boost with the recent acquisition of Jeff Samardzija.
Robertson was likely the best closer on the market and definitely got paid like it. With the White Sox bullpen needing to be shored up this offseason, as it was very inexperienced, the signings of Duke and now Robertson help fill that void. Robertson joins a bullpen that includes the likes of Jake Petricka, Daniel Webb, and Zach Putnam, who are all 27 or younger.
The 29-year-old Robertson went 4-5 with a 3.08 ERA and a 126 ERA+ in 64.1 innings pitched with the New York Yankees last season. He saved 39 games in 44 opportunities and struck out 96, while only walking 23. Robertson had been Marino Rivera's main setup man since 2011, when he was an All-Star. When Rivera retired in 2013, Robertson stepped into the closer's role with no trouble.
The White Sox bullpen was among the worst in the majors last season in fWAR, posting a mark of 0.7. Their ERA ranked third-worst, even though they tossed the tenth-fewest innings. The addition of Robertson may really help the White Sox bullpen not only gain experience, but also improve their numbers. Chicago looks to be going for it, and a sure-fire bullpen can only help.
The University of Alabama native was selected by the Yankees in the 17th round of the 2006 MLB Draft. He is 25-19 over his seven-year big league career, which includes a 2.81 ERA and a 3.16 strikeout per walk ratio. Roberston has previously spent his entire career with New York.