The Philadelphia Phillies have seen several key contributors from their 2022 NL Champion team enter free agency this offseason. Most seem unlikely to return to Philadelphia, including second baseman Jean Segura, starting pitchers Zach Eflin, Noah Syndergaard, and Kyle Gibson, and relievers Corey Knebel and Brad Hand.
There’s one free agent, however, who Dave Dombrowski should strongly consider bringing back into the fold: right-handed relief pitcher David Robertson.
The Phillies need to add at least two relievers this winter to fill out their big league bullpen. For one of those bullpen arms, they would be smart to target a top-tier pitcher like Kenley Jansen or Chris Martin. For the other, they should look for a solid and reliable middle-inning option. Robertson fits the bill.
Over the first half of the 2022 season, Robertson was phenomenal. Heading into the trade deadline, he looked like one of the best relievers in baseball. The Phillies gave up a promising young prospect in exchange for his services.
As the year wore on, Robertson’s velocity dropped and his dominance waned, but even so, he was one of the more trustworthy arms in Philadelphia’s pen.
Robertson comes with a high ceiling and a high floor. At his best, he’s can be a fearsome late-inning option. At worst, he’s a calming veteran presence to pitch the seventh inning. When healthy, he has been one of the best relievers in baseball for more than a decade.
The other benefit to Robertson is that he’s a known quantity. Manager Rob Thomson and pitching coach Caleb Cotham are familiar with his routines and his arsenal. They can continue working with him where they left off rather than starting over from scratch with a new pitcher.
The Phillies have several names to consider on the free agent market, but Robertson is one of the better bullpen arms out there. Sometimes, the most familiar option is also the smartest choice.
If the Phillies are going to bring back any of their free agents this offseason, Robertson is the way to go.
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