Chicago Cubs among teams interested in David Robertson


David Robertson received a $15.3 million qualifying offer from the New York Yankees on Monday, but the right-hander is expected to decline the offer in order to test the free agent waters in search of a multi year deal. The qualifying offer would make him the highest paid closer in MLB history, narrowly edging out his former teammate Mariano Rivera.

Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News reports that no less than half a dozen teams have expressed an interest in the Yankees closer, making him a hot commodity during the initial stages of baseball’s hot stove season. Of the six to express an interest, the Chicago Cubs might make the most practical sense. The hiring of Joe Maddon seems to have accelerated the Cubs’ rebuilding process by at least a year and making a big splash in free agency appears to be next on the agenda for Theo Epstein and company.

Robertson could be a solid addition to a Cubs bullpen that wasn’t terrible this past season, but could still use some improvements. He’d provide experience and consistency in the ninth inning, allowing Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop to mix and match in the seventh and eighth innings. The trio could, in some regards, offer up a similar makeup to the successful bullpen employed by the Kansas City Royals this past season.

The 29 year old Robertson will most likely command a contract in the three to four year range with a projected annual salary topping $12 million – or more, depending on how many team’s end up involved in a bidding war.

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In his first season as the closer for the Yankees, Robertson posted a 3.08 ERA and saved 39 games. He’d flashed some brilliance as a setup man prior to taking on the role, earning an All Star Game selection in 2011. He’s a dynamic two-pitch pitcher that combines a sharp breaking ball with a darting cutter resembling that of his mentor, Rivera.

Getting out of Rivera’s shadow and away from one of the game’s fastest emerging flamethrowers in Dellin Betances may be the correct path for Robertson, while latching on with a team on the rise as the Cubs appear to be makes for a nice place to land. The only question that remains is how much Epstein and the Cubs are looking to spend in order to accelerate their rebuilding campaign.

Or maybe Robertson accepts the qualifying offer, taking the big pay day, and none of this speculation ends up mattering.