NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Yankees general manager Brian Cashman isn’t sure what kind of deal David Robertson is looking for in free agency.
He’ll find out soon enough after the closer turned down New York’s one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer.
“(Robertson’s agent Scott Leventhal) and I have already texted,” Cashman said Monday at baseball’s general managers meetings in Arizona, according to MLB.com. “We’ll get together in Phoenix and get a feel for what they’re looking for. I mean, they’re in the driver’s seat as free agents, and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Tabbed as the team’s full-time closer after the retirement of Mariano Rivera, Robertson went 4-5 with a 3.08 ERA and 39 saves in 2014. The 29-year-old right-hander — who won a World Series with the Yankees in 2009 and was an All-Star two years later — is expected to land a lucrative multiyear deal with at least six teams reportedly interested in his services.
The Yankees may have a suitable replacement in 6-foot-8 Dellin Betances if they let Robertson walk. Betances, an All-Star and Rookie of the Year finalist, went 5-0 with a 1.40 ERA and one save in 90 innings out of the bullpen.
“Clearly, if we have to make an adjustment and turn to somebody else, we’ll have to do so,” Cashman said. “As of right now, we don’t have to name a closer for 2015 yet. So let’s see how the negotiations go with David before we have to worry about what we’re going to do if we lose David.”
The Yankees will receive a draft pick at the end of the first round as compensation if another team signs Robertson. Cashman acknowledged the qualifying offer was made to protect the team in either scenario, and said it also showed the “great deal of respect” the club has for the pitcher.
“The one thing we do have a feel for is how good a player he is, how great a competitor he is,” Cashman said of Robertson. “He’s not afraid of the New York environment. He checks every box off. He came in behind Mariano Rivera. It was a seamless transition, and that was certainly no easy task. That’s why we had no problem offering him that kind of number.”
Now we’ll see how high they’re willing to go — and how long.
Cashman, who wouldn’t comment on the latest Alex Rodriguez headlines, also touched on the many issues facing the franchise after missing the playoffs for a second straight year. There are holes on the infield — particularly at shortstop after the retirement of Derek Jeter — and the lineup desperately needs some pop. Hiroki Kuroda’s return to the rotation is far from a sure thing, and health is a big worry with an aging roster.
“If we make a couple of moves like we did in-season, if we can run into a few things that have a chance to make us better, I think we can get right back in the playoff mix,” Cashman said.
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