Should the Braves pursue David Robertson?

Bullpen top trade targets

This continues my series of potential trade targets for the Braves. At this point, Atlanta doesn’t have any glaring needs, but I don’t expect Alex Anthopoulos to sit on his hands over the next few weeks. This roster can be improved, and a right-handed reliever could do this team wonder. However, that could come in the form of Kirby Yates, who is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment this weekend. Hopefully, he can return to form, which will severely lessen the likelihood of Anthopoulos going after a big name bullpen arm, but there’s also a serious possibility that Yates doesn’t contribute at all. If that looks to be the case at the trade deadline, I expect the Braves to add at least one reliever, and David Robertson makes a lot of sense.

If you missed any of the previous parts of this series, follow the links below.

David Robertson

Robertson was one of the best relievers in baseball for a long time, but injuries struck during the 2019 season with the Phillies, limiting him to just seven games. He then missed all of 2020 and only appeared in 12 games last year for the Tampa Bay Rays. However, Robertson found a home this season with the rebuilding Cubs and is proving to be one of the most dominant relievers in baseball once again.

Through 31 appearances (34.1 innings), the 37-year-old has a 2.10 ERA, 1.019 WHIP, and 11.8 K/9. His Baseball Savant page also paints the picture of an elite reliever.

  • 99th percentile in Fastball Spin
  • 91st percentile in Whiff%
  • 91st percentile in K%
  • 96th percentile in xBA
  • 83rd percentile in xSLG
  • 76th percentile in HardHit%
  • 75th percentile in xERA

By almost every metric, Robertson passes the test as one of the toughest pitchers to hit against in the late innings. Given he is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and the Cubs aren’t competing for the playoffs, he will almost surely be traded before the deadline. The Braves should have a lot of interest, but so will many other teams, so the bidding could get out of hand. However, if it remains reasonable, Robertson is a perfect trade target for the Braves.

Photo: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire

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