Addition of David Robertson gives Philadelphia some flexibility to make another roster move

Philadelphia could still add even with Robertson in tow
David Robertson is a substantial addition to a Philadelphia bullpen that has the makings, on paper at least, to be one of the best in the National League in 2019.

The Phillies agreed to terms with the right-hander on Thursday, inking the 33-year-old to a two-year deal worth $23 million. The contract includes a third-year club option worth an additional $10 million.

Strengthening the Phillies bullpen was one of general manager Matt Klentak's primary goals this winter. Multiple sources indicated the club was close to having a deal in place for Andrew Miller, but he signed with St. Louis just before Christmas. That said, Robertson makes for an outstanding Plan-B. He's dominant against left-handed hitters and is a ground ball pitcher, meaning he should excel in Citizens Bank Park.

"He's going to pitch high-leverage innings for us," Klentak said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday. "He'll be getting important outs."

Robertson has experience as a closer, averaging 31 saves per season between 2014 and 2017. He comes to Philadelphia, however, just looking to bolster the backend of the bullpen.

"As long as I get opportunities to pitch at the back end of games, I'm happy. Sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth inning ...," Robertson said.

"I'm willing to pitch any point in the game. Baseball is heading in that direction. There will always be lockdown closers, but there's a good mix of guys like me who will pitch anywhere."

With Robertson in tow, Philadelphia now has a log-jam of arms in the bullpen. Along with Seranthony Dominguez and veterans Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek, you have new additions in Juan Nicasio, Jose Alvarez, and James Pazos coupled with returning arms in Yacksel Rios, Edubray Ramos, Hector Neris, Adam Morgan, Victor Arano, and Austin Davis.

The plethora of options, plus the fact that seven relievers on the 40-man roster right now don't have remaining roster options, means it's entirely possible the Phillies deal one or more pieces of the bullpen to ease the glut and improve elsewhere.

Of the available names, Hunter and Neshek could prove to be the easiest to move. Both are entering the final year of their respective contracts.

"I don't know how aggressive we're going to be in shopping our players because we like the group we have right now," Klentak said. "I think if we go into the season with the group we have plus the depth we have, we're setting ourselves up to have a real advantage in the bullpen throughout the year. Having said that, we also know that there may be opportunities to deal from that group to address other areas and we're going to be open to that. I would not say that we are actively engaged on that at this point, but it's something we'll be open to."
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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