David Robertson Would Make the LA Angels a Contender
By Vincent Page
The LA Angels interest in improving their pitching has been well-documented this offseason. With 2019 drawing near, they are still active in the free agency market, and could sign a big target.
While the LA Angles have improved their rotation by signing Matt Harvey and bringing in Trevor Cahill, their bullpen has been left alone outside of a small trade for Luis Garcia (which could have a big payoff). However, they have finally set their sights on a big-time target.
Reports surfaced Friday morning that the Angels are among teams interested in former New York Yankees’ reliever David Robertson. Per Jon Morosi, the Angels are one of few teams outside of the Northeast United States that Robertson, for a few reasons, would consider.
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In 2018, a “down” year for Robertson, he posted a 3.23 ERA. However, his strikeout numbers were still elite, which means he fits the mold of Eppler’s preferred reliever. With an affinity for pitchers who miss bats, it is no surprise Eppler is pursuing Robertson.
Robertson has also pitched at least 60 innings each of the past nine years, and has not hit the disabled list since 2014. For a team so often crippled by injured pitchers, Robertson also brings healthy track record to any potential team.
The most obvious connection between the two clubs is general manager Billy Eppler. Eppler was running the show in the Bronx during a portion of Robertson’s first stint with the Yankees. While a former general manager is not enough alone for a free agent of Robertson’s caliber to commit, it is an advantage for the Angels to have someone he is familiar with in Eppler.
Beyond that, Robertson is looking to close games in 2019. With his desire to pitch the ninth inning, that has taken a lot of teams out of the running. However, the Angels have no real closer for 2019, at least until Keynan Middleton returns from Tommy John surgery. Almost 34-years old, Robertson could prove to be an extremely valuable stopgap for the Angels until Middleton is ready to take the reins for the ninth inning.
The LA Angels are on the cusp of contending for a playoff spot. Given the Yankees, Red Sox, Astros, and Indians, are likely to take 4 of the 5 spots in the American League, the Angels need to beat out the Oakland A’s. Given the A’s elite bullpen in 2018, the Angels need to play catch up for next year, and Robertson would be a big step in the right direction.