For the second straight day in a save situation, Chicago Cubs closer David Robertson did not come into the game.
Yesterday’s was easily explained, since Robertson had pitched the two days prior, and even in normal times, a closer doesn’t always go three days in a row.
But today’s? That one raised some eyebrows. Were the Cubs just being overly cautious? Was there an injury issue? Was a deal close?
Well, the answer looks like mostly the first one:
Just an extra day of rest for a guy who threw a lot of pitches this weekend. NOTHING TO SEE HERE, say the Cubs.
In other words, it’s not quite YET that a deal is close or the Cubs are full on sitting Robertson down no matter what, but clearly there is extra caution there. Which is obviously the right approach with a 37-year-old pitcher who is a valuable trade piece right now. Frankly, I’m not sure I would pitch him at all from here, since there is nothing to be gained and only something to be lost.
Having returned to full health this year, Robertson has appeared in 35 games for the Cubs, throwing 39.1 innings, posting a 1.83 ERA and 3.25 FIP. He has been as good as you could have realistically hoped for, and the pitches look crisp and lively. If I were a contender, I would want him in my bullpen ASAP. But that doesn’t mean the best offer will come through until closer to August 2.
In case you were wondering – I was! – about how the Cubs handled this situation last year with a closer everyone knew they were trading. Craig Kimbrel’s last appearance with the Cubs was five days before the Trade Deadline, which, if history repeats, would have Robertson pitching Thursday night in San Francisco, and then not again.
But the thing about the Kimbrel situation was that, after his final appearance, and before the deadline, the Cubs lost all the intervening games. None of the games really would’ve justified a Kimbrel appearance regardless of trade thoughts. So I don’t know how instructive that timeline really is.
I guess I’ll just hope that the game situations dictate no need for Robertson from here so that we – and the Cubs, and David Ross – don’t even have to confront what is otherwise a tricky and awkward situation. Generally, teams don’t make a guy completely unavailable unless they know a trade might happen that day or the next.
The rumors have picked up in recent days, including talk of a possible combo deal with the Mets, involving both Robertson and Willson Contreras.