Tuesday newsletter time: Nice guy David Robertson wants to finish first
(AP photo/Jeff Dean)
As first impressions go, right-hander David Robertson left the media thinking Monday that he might be the nicest guy on the face of the earth.
At the very least, he’s going to be a pleasure to work with. Check back after his first loss as a Rangers reliever, but signs point toward a professional exchange.
Robertson signed a one-year, $11.5 million deal Friday and did the Rangers’ payroll a solid by deferring some of the money. He’s made plenty in his 15-year career (an estimated $93 million-plus, according to Baseball-Reference) and just wants to win.
He doesn’t care where he pitches in games as long as he’s helping the Rangers come out on top.
“I’m on this team to win games,” he said. “However we’ve got to win, I’m just part of that team that’s trying to win.”
Robertson has appeared in 42 postseason games in his career, including five with the Yankees in 2009 as they won the World Series. He returned to the World Series in 2022 with the Phillies, who lost to the Astros.
While with the Yankees, he threw in the same bullpen as Mariano Rivera, the only player selected unanimously to the Hall of Fame. Rivera is the inspiration behind Robertson’s unusual offseason throwing program.
“This is where it’s going to get weird,” he said. “I am a notoriously slow thrower. I learned from Mariano Rivera that spring training doesn’t count, so I don’t really throw a baseball until I get to camp.”
Maybe that’s why Robertson was still effective last season at 38 years old. It’s hard to argue with the results of a career that includes 175 saves and 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings.
General manager Chris Young sounded a warning Saturday at Fan Fest. He’s hearing that Rangers fans are going to turn Surprise, Ariz., red.
He also speaks from experience.
The Rangers share the Surprise Recreation Campus with the Royals, who won the World Series in 2015 with Young picking up the Game 1 win in relief. When they arrived in spring training in 2016, Surprise Stadium had been turned blue.
“We walked out for the game, and the third-base side, which was the Royals side, was filled,” Young said. “I couldn’t believe it because it was [late February], and there were so many people there. I’ve been told by the city of Surprise that’s what we should expect this year, that Rangers fans are coming out to Surprise.”
Rangers Today is all booked up. The listings at Aibnb and Vrbo are dwindling. Hotel rooms in the area are either booked or outrageously expensive.
The big week, as always, is spring break. The Rangers have an off day that week, on March 14, so slide over to another ballpark and watch a non-Rangers Cactus League game.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If your family loves baseball, there is no better vacation than spring training in Arizona.
— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilsonTXR) November 20, 2023
Latest Rangers rumor
This one is interesting: Buster Olney from ESPN tweeted that the Rangers “have had internal discussions” about veteran first baseman Brandon Belt, a native Texan who played the first nine seasons of his career in San Francisco with manager Bruce Bochy.
Belt, who played in college at Texas, is a left-handed hitter who did well last season against right-handed pitchers (19 homers, .890 OPS). He’s not as spry as he was once and might be a fit at designated hitter, where he could platoon with Ezequiel Duran, Justin Foscue, Sam Huff, Blaine Crim or Wyatt Langford.
But Young said on Saturday that the Rangers like the idea of not having a full-time DH so that they can rotate players through the spot to give them days off their feet but keep their bats in the lineup.
Young also said that the Rangers continue to look for external options to help the club. The assumption was he was talking about pitching, which seems like more of a priority than a hitter based on Max Scherzer’s back surgery and Jordan Montgomery’s availability.
If the Belt rumor proves to be true, A) I’m going to write his last name as Beltre many times, and B) the Rangers won’t be re-signing Montgomery.
Me, when there’s a First 48 marathon to watch. Enjoy.
When your favorite TV show is about to start..🐕💨📺😅 pic.twitter.com/B4qEJFMAvL
— 𝕐o̴g̴ (@Yoda4ever) January 25, 2024
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com