(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)
With the Yankees standing to lose a few of their recent top homegrown players to free agency this offseason, Andrew Mearns of Pinstriped Bible looked ahead to the future free agency of 2 more players who fit that mold
yesterday Monday. Both David Robertson and Brett Gardner are due to become free agents after the 2014 season and Mearns brought up the idea of re-signing them to team-friendly deals before they hit the open market, questioning how risky a move it would be on the Yankees' part to do so.
Gardner is a risk for obvious reasons, but D-Rob has never struck me as much of one. He's still just 28 and will be at the start of next season. He's never had much of a problem with arm injuries. And he's been as reliable a reliever in front of Mo as there's been in the setup pool in baseball for the last few seasons. But what about his workload? D-Rob was unavailable again last night after pitching in 5 of the last 7 days, and he's on pace to reach new career highs in appearances and innings pitched. Is there anything in D-Rob's seasonal workload totals to be concerned about moving forward?
In short, no. Not really. Since 2010, the season he became a full-time part of the Yankee 'pen, D-Rob has appeared in 238 regular season games and pitched 225.0 innings. Those numbers rank him 17th and 21st in those categories respectively among all MLB relievers, and if you factor in the extra postseason innings Robertson has pitched you still only get up to 236.2. Robertson made 64, 70, and 65 appearances from 2010-2012 and pitched 61.1, 66.2, and 60.2 innings in those seasons. He's been as remarkably consistent usage-wise as he has performance-wise, a testament to the job Joe does resting his key bullpen guys, and with the smoothing out of his mechanics over years of working with Mo he looks to be set up to not be a risk for future arm problems.
There's always risk in re-signing relief pitchers to multi-year deals, and Mearns is quick to remind everyone of that point in his post. But in looking at D-Rob's on-field history, there shouldn't be much risk from a Yankee perspective in making a decision to re-sign him early. He's in his prime, he's homegrown, he's proven to be reliable both health and performance-wise, he hasn't been overworked in his earlier years, and he's really the only viable candidate around to replace Mo. It would be a smart business and baseball move for the Yanks to lock up D-Rob now, and one they shouldn't have too many concerns about making.