David Kohl | USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees’ bullpen is in rough shape and David Robertson is who they need to fix it.

New York’s relief corps is officially at red alert. Michael King is out for the season with an elbow injury and Miguel Castro is injured. Aroldis Chapman can’t be trusted with the ball under any circumstances anymore.

Granted, Ron Marinaccio coming back from a dead arm will soften the blow but won’t be nearly enough. Nor will shifting youngsters JP Sears or Clarke Schmidt into permanent bullpen roles. What the Yankees need in the bullpen is proper veteran leadership that can steady the course and, most importantly, finish the season strong.

Robertson fits this mold perfectly. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s had two stints in New York and won a World Series ring in 2009. The veteran righty owns a 2.75 ERA as a Yankee and can certainly pitch in a sold-out Yankee Stadium.


Robertson has also played well for the rebuilding Cubs this year, posting a 1.93 ERA and 13 saves. Now consider that he’s 37 and basically missed three full seasons with Tommy John surgery and other arm trouble. His fastball spin is in the 100th percentile despite that.

Even better for the Yankees is Robertson can serve the bullpen in multiple roles. His resume as a setup man who strands runners speaks for itself. He’s near-untouchable in the seventh and eighth innings. For his career, hitters have only hit .188 against him in high leverage situations.

But what makes Robertson more desirable for the Yankees is that he can close games. He has 150 saves, including 53 for New York. Robertson also had his best season as a closer as a Yankee, notching 39 in 2014.

None of this is to take away from Clay Holmes’ All-Star season. He’s been practically lights-out since assuming the closer’s role. But he tossed a career-high 70 innings across New York and Pittsburgh last season and is already at 43 innings in 2022. Moreover, four of his saves have required more than three outs.

Holmes might be young and healthy, but King’s injury was a rude awakening. Adding Robertson helps keep the All-Star closer’s arm fresh for a deep playoff run. He’s ready for a full season’s workload despite both his age and recent injury history.

The good news for Yankees fans is that Brian Cashman is the master of building and rebuilding bullpens and Matt Blake is a great pitching coach. Remember, Holmes had a 5.57 ERA in four years with the Pirates. The front office is aware of the bullpen issue and will address it.

But if Cashman wants a proven arm who can handle New York and be a steadying veteran presence in a young bullpen? It’s hard to argue trading for anyone other than Robertson.

Josh Benjamin is a Bronx native who lives and breathes the New York Yankees despite being born into a family full of Mets fans. He is the MLB Editor at RealSport and considers himself a student of the game. When not writing, he can be found either at Yankee Stadium or deep in discussion with his fellow sports nuts.