Robertson, 31, is one of the top available relievers with the White Sox aggressively rebuilding. Chicago has already dealt Chris Sale and Adam Eaton this winter for significant prospect hauls including Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, and Michael Kopech.
After coming up with the Yankees and establishing himself as a legitimate back-end arm, Robertson took on the closer’s role in 2014 and parlayed a tidy 39-save season into a four-year, $46 million deal in Chicago.
The veteran does not come without reason for worry, of course, as his statistical performance did regress in several areas last season. Most notably, his walk rate spiked to 4.6 per nine innings, his highest point since his mid-20s. This led to a 3.47 ERA and 1.364 WHIP, both his highest since 2010.
His 1.0 WAR (FanGraphs) was also his lowest since that 2010 season. There were no issues with Robertson’s velocity regressing, however.
As Cafardo notes, the White Sox could easily hold on to Robertson until the July 31st trade deadline in hopes of finding a more motivated buyer. His value remains extremely high, but four months with an ERA south of 3.00 would push him to another tier for a team desperately in need of a closer for their playoff push.
The Blue Jays would face an issue both financially and in terms of prospect capital, making this a very difficult match. Adding Robertson’s salary would exhaust the full extent of their remaining resources, and despite some very encouraging strides from their farm system, it is not yet at the point where the Blue Jays have “excess” talent to shed.
As the bullpen currently stands, Roberto Osuna is firmly entrenched in the ninth inning while Joe Biagini and veteran Jason Grilli figure into the seventh and eighth-inning picture. The addition of a high-leverage left-hander will also impact that, and at this point, would be of a higher priority than a player like Robertson.
Robertson is due $12 million in 2017 and $13 million in 2018 before hitting free agency.