Yankees part ways with David Robertson

Brian McCann and David Robertson (Image: Al Bello/Getty Images)
Brian McCann and David Robertson (Image: Al Bello/Getty Images)

For the second year in a row, the New York Yankees will begin the season with a new closer in the bullpen.

News broke Monday night of All-Star reliever David Robertson agreeing to a 4-year, $46 million deal with the Chicago White Sox (Nightengale, Dec. 8th).


 

This was a no-brainer for the White Sox, addressing the bullpen was an area of concern for them this winter. Last month they signed Zach Duke to a three-year deal, he’ll most likely be Robertson’s setup man. Chicago also traded for starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija on Monday, ensuring their team as making the biggest splash on the first day of the winter meetings.

What’s left for the Yankees is a major question mark in their bullpen. Robertson saved 39 games in 2014 for the Yankees, admirably replacing the great Mariano Rivera as the team’s closer. However, all isn’t lost for the Yankees here. They’ve already added free agent reliever Andrew Miller, he’ll  join youngster Dellin Betances in the bullpen.

The idea of a Miller-Robertson-Betances bullpen was a good thought to entertain, however Robertson did enough in 2014 to show everyone he’s a top closer, expecting him to step back for Betances was not realistic.

Another way to look at this is Robertson’s price tag just may have been too steep for the Yankees, especially after committing to Miller for $36 million over four years. I’m all for having a strong bullpen, especially for the Yankees, however Miller and Betances could prove to be successful with the more traditional 1-2 punch in the 8th and 9th innings.

It would appear that the Yankees are, at the very least, intrigued with the idea of Betances as their closer. He made the All-Star team in 2014 setting up for Robertson, his arm is live and electric.

With the money saved from letting Robertson walk, the Yankees have options. They could go after a another reliever, preferably cheaper, with experience closing games. The juicy option would be if general manager Brian Cashman decides to address his highly questionable starting rotation by pursuing free agent starting pitcher Max Scherzer.

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Giancarlo Stanton, the Miami Marlins, and a $325 million apology

Giancarlo Stanton - (Image: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Giancarlo Stanton – (Image: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

The Miami Marlins agreed to terms with Giancarlo Stanton on a $325 million, 13-year contract, it’s the most lucrative deal for an American athlete in history. The deal averages out to $25 million per season, a no-trade clause, and an opt out for Stanton after six years.

Stanton is the real deal, 25 years old, and arguably Major League Baseball’s most feared hitter. He doesn’t just hit home runs, he hits them far. Stanton has more 450-foot home runs than any player in baseball over the last five seasons.

Signing Stanton to such a lucrative deal puts Miami at the top of the baseball headlines. The Marlins have drawn criticism for how the team’s ownership has handled payroll in the past. They splurged on big-money free agents a couple of years ago, hoping it would help fill their new state of the art ballpark that the public helped pay for. They then changed course after one bad season by slashing payroll so aggressively it turned their fan base against them.

Miami needs Giancarlo Stanton to continue launching baseballs far beyond the fences of Marlins Park. Signing Stanton to a long-term deal is just as much about business off the field for the Marlins as it is on it. It’s another high-priced apology by a team to its fan base, $325 million to be exact.

Stanton can’t be blamed for taking Miami’s money, Major League Baseball does this every year it seems. Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols — all of these players have received  big-money deals from teams obsessed with capitalizing on the present, however gambling on the future.

In Stanton’s case, his 2014 season ended abruptly on September 11th when he was hit in the face by a pitch. It can’t be ignored the possibility of Stanton seeing that as a reminder of how fragile a professional athlete’s career can be, it can be over in one play.

There’s also the opt-out clause in the deal for Stanton, he’ll be entering his 30’s around that time. If the Marlins are not holding up their end of a the deal as far as fielding a competitive team, Stanton can always look to take his talents away from South Beach to another team with deep pockets, perhaps the Yankees.

While many will debate if Stanton’s worth the money, or if the Marlins will surround him with enough talent to compete in the years going forward, both sides have agreed to this deal for reasons far beyond just baseball.

Anthony Rushing | @AnthonyRushing_

 

 

Michael Cuddyer on decision to sign with the Mets: “It really wasn’t about the money”

Michael Cuddyer - (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Michael Cuddyer – (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

They always say it’s not about the money.

Newly signed outfielder Michael Cuddyer turned down a $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Colorado Rockies to head east and play for the New York Mets. Cuddyer noted his desire to contend for a team on the east coast, as a primary reason he’s packing his bags and saying goodbye to Colorado.

Cuddyer agreed to a two-year, $21 million deal with the Mets, however he wanted to set the record straight on how much the money factored into his decision (Rubin, Nov 11th).

“It really wasn’t about the money,” Cuddyer said Tuesday, a day after passing a physical. “As hard as it is for some to believe, it’s not always about the money. And this was one of those cases. I think just the excitement of being able to come to the East, come play for the Mets, that was the biggest attraction. You get to the point that I’m at in my career, that’s the thing that’s important: One, to win. And wanting to be closer to home. Both of those issues were nailed in this signing, for me at least.”

Cuddyer’s close friendship with Mets’ team captain David Wright has also been reported to have played a major role in his decision. They both grew up in the Norfolk, Virginia, area and have maintained a close friendship over the years.

In my column for CitySportsReport.com, I note the Cuddyer signing as being a clear indication of how serious the Mets are about contending in 2015.

Cuddyer isn’t the cure for everything wrong with the Mets offensively, however he’s a step in the right direction. General manager Sandy Alderson wanted to address the need for another quality bat in the lineup and he wasted no time in doing so on someone who clearly wants to play for his team.

Anthony Rushing | @AnthonyRushing