The Angels, interested in most starting pitchers who have signed this offseason, are interested in another pitcher: RP David Robertson. Jon Morosi had the news:
Source: #Angels interested in free agent reliever David Robertson, who knows Angels GM Billy Eppler from their time together with #Yankees. Robertson is said to prefer teams in Northeast, but he’d also like the opportunity to close — which is what he could have in Anaheim. @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 28, 2018
It may not be surprising that the Angels are interested in relievers. Perhaps more interesting is Robertson’s interest in closing games with the Angels, a team that may have that opportunity available. Robertson, once the Yankees closer, lost that role as the Yankees acquired Aroldis Chapman with Dellin Betances dabbling, too.
Robertson’s value stems from both his performance and his durability. He has thrown 60 or more innings over each of the last nine years, with his lowest FIP over that time checking in at 3.58 in 2014. Among relievers who have thrown over 300 innings over the last six seasons, Robertson is the fifth-most valuable by fWAR (9.3) with the eighth-most innings pitched (394.1 IP) and the seventh-highest strikeout rate (11.94 K/9).
Velocity is a proven predictor of success and in that regard, Robertson has held up well. The longtime Yankee threw slightly harder in 2018 than the year prior, with his cutter (thrown 41.6% of the time) seeing a 0.7 mph uptick and his curveball (thrown 45.8% of the time) experiencing an even greater 1.5 mph increase, per Pitch Info.
The question, then, comes to concerning price. Heading into free agency, I modeled the Angels to spend $28.5 million, assuming a $191M payroll. Given their additions and subtractions thus far this winter, the Angels have about $13.2 million left to spend this season. Given the Angels’ payroll situation, it looks unlikely that they will be able to sign Robertson in addition to Yasmani Grandal or Yusei Kikuchi.