In the past three days, the Chicago Cubs have been linked to free agent reliever David Robertson by Tim Dierkes (discussed here), by Mark Feinsand (discussed here), by Gordon Wittenmyer (discussed here), and now by Patrick Mooney, in an article here.
That’s four times Robertson and the Cubs have been mentioned together, specifically, in a three-day span. Whatever we think of the veracity there, it’s worth noting, particularly as none of the reports were merely referencing or piggybacking off of any of the others.
To be sure, the links aren’t necessarily too strong – Dierkes made a prediction, and the other three reports merely indicated that the Cubs checking in on Robertson was something that could happen – and my skepticism that the Cubs would actually sign Robertson remains relatively intact. But my skepticism that the Cubs would seriously check in on him? That’s pretty much abated. How could it not at this point?
Ultimately, I don’t have much to add to my previous discussions of Robertson as a Cubs target. He’s a great reliever, and he’s going to be paid a sum that would seem luxurious to a team like the Cubs, which has somewhat limited resources at this point, and other areas of more pressing concern.
That said, and I’ll leave my hat hung here, if Robertson’s market is not exceptionally strong after he turns down his qualifying offer next Monday, and if he is without a job heading into late January/early February, then maybe more serious conversations take place. In that even, I can carve out in my mind a scenario where Robertson makes sense for the Cubs to actually sign if (1) the Cubs have already signed a qualified free agent or two, meaning that the draft pick cost for signing Robertson is a mere third or fourth rounder, and (2) Robertson has to settle for something like two years and $20 million or three years and $24 million. At that price level, and given the very low draft pick cost, there’s too much value in Robertson for the Cubs not to pull the trigger, whatever the makeup of their bullpen.
… but I just don’t see it. With a relative lack of elite back-end relievers on the market this year, it seems like Robertson is going to get a three or four-year deal in the $10 to $12 million range. At that level, I simply cannot wrap my head around him being the right fit for the Cubs at this time.