By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The workload hasn’t been heavy for White Sox closer David Robertson in the early part of this season.
Chicago entered play Tuesday at 9-9, with Robertson throwing in seven games. The results for Robertson have been outstanding, as he has a 1.35 and 0.75 WHIP in 6 2/3 innings while converting all four of his save chances. As the White Sox continue on a rebuild, the 32-year-old Robertson has been on the radar of numerous clubs in need of a lockdown closer.
The Nationals and Rangers seem to have the most need for a closer right now, and both have been linked to having interest in Robertson. Of course, there are several variables surrounding Robertson’s availability. Money could be a stumbling block for some interested teams. Robertson is due $12 million this season and $13 million in 2018, the final year of his contract. And certainly, the price of poker is much higher now that closers like Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen are making between $16 million and $17 million a season.
Robertson also had knee surgery in the offseason. He has come back strong, with 12 strikeouts in those 6 2/3 innings. Robertson has converted 71 of 85 saves chances combined in 2015 and 2016, a success rate of 83.5 percent.
“The whole trade thing is tricky,” Robertson said recently on “Inside the Clubhouse” on 670 The Score. “If I sit around thinking about trade rumors, I would lose my mind. Obviously, the rumors have been flying for a long time. I thought I was traded in the offseason. That fell through. I just show up to the field every day and get ready to play. I try to just do my job and enjoy the game with the players I am playing with. These are the players I am playing with, and we want to win together. The front office is going to control whether to keep me or trade me. I can only control my own performance on the field.”
Robertson hasn’t been bogged down by the rebuilding talk buzzing around himself and his teammates.
“You know, we have a really good squad,” he said. “We have a good lineup. The division looks really tight right now. No one has figured out how to pull away yet. It could take awhile. I hope it does, because we know how to battle and grind. Just because we are in a so-called rebuilding year doesn’t mean we can’t compete for the division. We have some pitchers and hitters that have been through the wars. We like our club.”
For now, the easy-going Robertson wants to focus on his work at hand and hang out with his White Sox bullpen mates, pointing out relief pitchers are a different breed.
“Heh, we sit down in a cage and get yelled at by fans all of the time,” Robertson said with a laugh. “We have a weird life out there away from the rest of the team. Once you become a bullpen member, you are different for life. It grows on you. You adjust to it. It becomes your job.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.