Phillies sign reliever David Robertson to two-year, $23 million deal

A two-year deal with the Phillies means David Robertson is heading to the NL for the first time. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
A two-year deal with the Phillies means David Robertson is heading to the NL for the first time. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The Philadelphia Phillies have finally made a move to improve their pitching. The team announced on Thursday that they’ve signed reliever David Robertson to a two-year deal with an option for a third.

According to’s Mark Feinsand, Robertson will get $23 million out of the deal no matter what. His salaries in 2019 and 2020 combined guarantee him $21 million, and he’ll either get $12 million to play for the Phillies in 2021, or a $2 million buyout. Robertson actually negotiated this deal himself — he told that he and his former agent parted ways a few months ago, and he decided to represent himself.

Robertson, 33, has been a pretty steady reliever over the past several years, keeping his ERA in the mid-3.00 range with flashes of brilliance here and there. He’s been in the majors since 2008 and has spent most of his time with the New York Yankees, playing for the Chicago White Sox from 2015 to 2017. He had a 3.23 ERA for the Yankees in 2018 and saved five games.

As for why Robertson chose Philadelphia, he spoke to and explained why he felt the Phillies were the right team for him and his family.

“Philly really checked off all the boxes for me,” Robertson told “They are hungry to get back to the postseason and win. They have a great fan base, a beautiful ballpark and a special focus on charity. They’ve put together a great squad and I think I can bring a lot to the team in the back end of their bullpen.”

Robertson can definitely bring a lot to the back of the Phillies’ bullpen. He’s a huge upgrade, especially when you consider that the Phillies ‘pen pitched to an unimpressive 4.19 ERA in 2018, 18th among all MLB teams. They need guys to fill nearly every role in the bullpen including closer, and while Robertson hasn’t been a dedicated closer for a few years, he could be that guy for the Phillies.

Robertson’s numbers won’t blow you away, but his durability and consistency should. That seems to be a theme with the Phillies this offseason. They’ve also signed Andrew McCutchen and traded for Jean Segura, two players known for their durability and consistency. These aren’t flashy signings, but they undoubtedly make the Phillies a better team than they were in 2018.

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