The right-hander signed a contract that will pay him $10 million in 2019 and $11 million in 2020, MLB.com reported on Thursday. The deal includes a club option for a third season that would pay Robertson $12 million for 2021. The Phillies can buy out the third year for $2 million.
Robertson was a free agent after his 11th big-league season. He’ll be pitching regularly in the National League for the first time after spending his MLB career in the American League with the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox.
“Philly really checked off all the boxes for me,” Robertson told Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. “They are hungry to get back to the postseason and win. They have a great fan base, a beautiful ballpark and a special focus on charity. They’ve put together a great squad, and I think I can bring a lot to the team in the back end of their bullpen.”
In the 2018 season, Robertson worked in 69 games and had an 8-3 record with five saves and a 3.23 earned-run average. In 69.2 innings, Robertson gave up 46 hits, struck out 91 and walked 26.
Philadelphia posted an 80-82 record in 2018, when it faded down the stretch. On Aug. 11, the Phillies had a 65-51 record and led the NL East.
Philadelphia did not have a designated closer in its bullpen last season, and nine pitchers earned saves in 2018 for the Phillies. The two pitchers who got the most opportunities in the ninth inning for Philadelphia return for 2019. Seranthony Dominguez had 16 saves and Hector Neris earned 11 saves for the Phillies in 2018.
Robertson has been used as a setup man and a closer during his career. In his first six MLB seasons, Robertson worked in front of Mariano Rivera in the Yankees’ bullpen and earned All-Star recognition in 2011.
After Rivera retired, Robertson took over at the back of the New York bullpen and saved 39 games in 2014.
He left the Yankees in free agency and saved 34 games in 2015 and 37 in 2017 for the White Sox. Robertson had 13 more saves for Chicago when it traded him to the Yankees on July 18, 2017.
During his MLB career, Robertson has pitched in 654 games exclusively as a reliever, compiling a 53-32 record with 137 saves and a 2.88 ERA. In 657 innings, he’s given up 492 hits, struck out 874 and walked 260.
Robertson has pitched in more big-league games than any other Alabama alumnus, and he ranks 10th on the school’s list for MLB games played. He’s also saved more games than any other former Crimson Tide player and ranks second to Frank Lary on the school’s MLB strikeout list.
Robertson has pitched in 30 postseason games. He has a 5-0 record in the playoffs and pitched for the Yankees’ 2009 World Series-winning team.
Robertson and his wife, Erin, founded High Socks for Hope to help his hometown of Tuscaloosa after the April 27, 2011, tornado devastated the city. Since then, the organization has been dedicated to helping victims of natural disasters nationwide and added an outreach to assist homeless, disabled and destitute veterans in the Tuscaloosa area.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.