In his prime years the first time around in New York, David Robertson earned the nickname "Houdini" for his freakish ability to get out of jams. That skill did not follow him to Chicago in free agency, but it was apparently just waiting for him to return to The Bronx. Robertson stranded 95.0 percent of baserunners after coming back home while displaying skills worthy of the closer role (13.1 K/9, 3.1 BB/9). The problem for him is that the club has spent a lot of money on Aroldis Chapman, and Robertson likely needs an injury or suspension to Chapman to take the job. In his current role, he can be a very functional piece in AL-only leagues with his strikeout rate and his exposure to high leverage that allows him the opportunity for vulturing wins. In mixed leagues, he is relegated to a speculative reserve pick that is better served on a starter or a hitter with upside and a clearer path to playing time.
Robertson worked around a hit to pitch a shutout eighth inning in Saturday's win over the Red Sox, striking out one. There was some thought when Aroldis Chapman was removed from the closer role in mid-August that Robertson could be in line to take over the ninth inning, and while that still could hold true on occasion, Dellin Betances has seen every save opportunity since then. Robertson has still been effective when called upon, though, and remains a solid source of strikeouts.
Robertson could get some save chances going forward, as Aroldis Chapman was officially removed from the closer's role Saturday. The Yankees have not specified who will get saves, but Dellin Betances and Robertson figure to be the top two options. Betances is owned in most fantasy leagues, but Robertson may be available and is worth an add, especially for owners chasing saves in deeper leagues.
Robertson struck out two in a perfect ninth inning Wednesday to record his 14th save of the season, and first as a Yankee, in a 5-3 win over the Mets. With Aroldis Chapman nursing a sore hamstring and Dellin Betances having pitched on three straight days coming into Wednesday, closing duties fell to Robertson and he was more than up to the task. The former White Sox stopper could see more save chances in the short term if Chapman remains sidelined and manager Joe Girardi decides to keep Betances in his eighth-inning role, but Robertson is more likely to be a source of holds than saves over the final weeks of the season.
Robertson was traded to the Yankees on Tuesday as part of a multi-player deal. Robertson has long been the subject of trade rumors and has finally found his new home for the stretch run of the 2017 season. This move will almost certainly have a negative effect on Robertson's fantasy value in standard leagues, as he'll no longer be in line for saves opportunities with his new ball club. The 32-year-old will likely be utilized as a setup man at the back end of the Yankees' loaded bullpen.
Robertson, who threw a scoreless inning in a non-save situation Sunday, had scouts from the Red Sox and Yankees on hand watching him pitch, Toni Ginnetti of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The rumors of Robertson being traded to the Nationals were popular during the first half of the season, but Washington made its long speculated move to acquire bullpen help elsewhere Sunday. Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle were sent from Oakland to Washington, presumably to address the team's closer problems. Other clubs are interested in Robertson, but the Nationals are (or were) in need of a closer, while the Red Sox and Yankees are looking at him as a setup man. The obvious implication of Sunday's development is that Robertson's value will be reduced if he's not closing games, and the potential haul he could get in fantasy circles will be diminished.