The Chicago Cubs do not have as many good pitchers to trade this deadline as they would have hoped both because of performance and injury, but closer David Robertson is suddenly one of the hottest names in the market and there’s one team that desperately needs to trade for him.
The 37-year-old, pitched a total of 18.2 innings between 2019-21, missing the shortened 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery the previous year when he was with the Phillies. Robertson came back at the end of 2021 with the Rays and has now re-established himself as one of the better relievers across MLB.
Robertson has appeared in 26 games for the Cubs in 2022, recording a 1.86 ERA and 0.93 WHIP, while saving 9 of 12 opportunities. He’s struck out 39 batters to his 13 walks allowed and has held opponents to a .139 batting average. So, who needs a closer?
The Minnesota Twins.
Twins Need To Trade For David Robertson
The Minnesota Twins have had 31 save opportunities this season, ranking 10th most in MLB. However, they have only converted on 18 of those chances, tied with the Tigers and Cardinals for 15th in the league. That’s 13 blown saves and Twins closer Emilio Pagán has only been able to convert on 9 of 14 save opportunities.
On Wednesday night, Pagán failed to protect a 6-3 lead in the 10th inning against the Guardians, as he was only able to get one out before walking a batter and then giving up an RBI-double. He was pulled after only facing three batters and left the game with runners at second and third with one out. Josh Naylor ended up hitting a two-run, walk-off home run to beat the Twins.
The latest blown lead was one of four bullpen meltdowns by the Twins in less than two weeks against the Guardians, with Pagán at the center of it all.
Incredible. #MNTwins blow their fourth late-inning lead vs. Cleveland in the past nine days, all four of them involving Emilio Pagán.
— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) June 30, 2022
Pagán, 31, has a 5.26 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 25.2 innings for the Twins this year and he’s coming off a terrible end to his Padres tenure. Last September, Pagán allowed 14 earned runs in eight innings over 10 appearances in San Diego.
Despite the awful pitching in high leverage spots this season the Twins remain atop the American League Central, currently two games ahead of the Guardians. If Minnesota is serious about staying contenders, then they need to address their late-inning struggles.
Robertson is a perfect option for them, getting a veteran reliever who has performed well this year and has a track record of getting outs in high leverage situations in playoff races throughout his career.
Another factor that makes Robertson attractive to any potential trade suitor is that he’s relatively cheap. Robertson signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract that includes an additional $1.5 million in incentives.
David Robertson Trade Rumors
Robertson’s name is popping all over the place as trade rumors begin to pick up. Here’s the latest from MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, who wrote about Robertson in, “The best Trade Deadline name for each position.”
After throwing a total of 18 innings from 2019-21, the right-handed Robertson is enjoying a renaissance season in Chicago, looking like the pitcher who experienced so much success with the Yankees and White Sox for a decade. The 37-year-old could either fill the closer role or be a setup man for a contender, and with seven postseasons’ worth of experience, Robertson won’t be scared of the bright lights come October.
Buzz Factor: High
Robertson is on a one-year, $3.5 million deal (plus some reachable incentives), making him a relative bargain given the price of other closers around the league. As long as he stays healthy and continues to perform at this level, Robertson could land a solid return for the Cubs given the number of contenders in need of bullpen help.
At this point, every contending team will at least call the Cubs about Robertson.
Other teams that could be potential trade fits for Robertson are the Mets, Yankees, Dodgers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox and Red Sox.