David Robertson acted as own agent to join Mets for another World Series shot
PORT ST. LUCIE — David Robertson won a World Series title with the Yankees in his first full major league season.
Since that 2009 season, he’s been chasing a second championship and that journey has brought him back to New York — this time to Queens.
“I would love nothing more than to get another ring,” Robertson said. “I keep getting stopped by this team, the Houston Astros. They keep beating me wherever and I’m sick of it. I’m ready to finish on top one more time. I know I can do it and this group can do it. That’s why this was the spot for me.”
Robertson made it back to the World Series last year, where his Phillies fell short against those Astros.
The right-hander was also on the Yankees team in 2017 that lost to scandal-scarred Houston in the ALCS.
The process that brought Robertson, who will turn 38 next month, back to New York was a simple one.
Since 2019, Robertson has acted as his own agent.
He signed a two-year, $23 million deal with the Phillies prior to that season, but pitched in just seven games before suffering an elbow injury that led to Tommy John surgery.
Robertson didn’t return to the majors until late in the 2021 season with the Rays.
After pitching well for Tampa Bay down the stretch, Robertson signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Cubs and was traded back to the Phillies at the deadline last August.
He was effective in both Chicago and Philadelphia and became a free agent following the season.
Acting as his own agent again, Robertson signed a one-year, $10 million to join the Mets.
Among the advantages Robertson points to is having one-on-one contact with teams.
“It hasn’t gotten easier, but I have a better feel for what I’m doing when I speak to teams,” Robertson said of going it alone. “I know a lot of guys on the business side in front offices and it’s easier for me to have a quick conversation with them to find out if they’re in or out. And I don’t have to tell anyone what’s going on, so I can keep teams in the dark, which is better for me.”
And of course, he’s not paying a fee to an agent, which generally runs about 5 percent of a contract.
“It’s nice to save a little percentage,” Robertson said. “But I also do like having direct conversations with teams. I find it to be better. If they tell me they’re not interested, I understand it and move on and hopefully other teams are calling me.”
Robertson’s solo act has caught the attention of other players, but he said no one has expressed serious interest in going a similar route.
“Some guys ask about it, but I don’t recommend it for everybody,” Robertson said. “A lot of contracts are really advanced. Mine are more straightforward and easy at this point in my career. But most people think I’m crazy, which is OK.”
Adam Ottavino has watched Robertson’s path, but hasn’t opted to follow it.
“Every player is curious about it, but it’s not that simple,’’ Ottavino said. “A lot of things go into it. There are different personalities and abilities, especially in terms of talking to people. And if you need off-field stuff done for you, agencies take care of a lot of that. … But if you don’t need that extra stuff and you think you can pull off the negotiation, I would see why you’d do it, because the fee can be outrageous.”
In signing with the Mets, Robertson was dealing with a familiar face in general manager Billy Eppler, who was in the Yankees front office when Robertson was drafted by the team in 2006.
For Eppler, it was a unique situation, but one made more comfortable because of their long relationship.
“I’ve known him since he came out of the University of Alabama,” Eppler said. “Maybe if I didn’t know him that well, the situation would have been different. But we had no problem being open and direct because we knew each other so well.”
Now, Robertson’s focus is on making another run at a title.
“This team is built to win now and it’s up to us to do it,” Robertson said. “I think the expectations are just high no matter what side of the city you’re on, whether you’re in Queens or The Bronx.”
And he’s looking to add one more title.
“I don’t know how much longer I’m gonna keep playing, but I still enjoy it and I’ve got plenty of time left to do other stuff,” Robertson said. “Rings are hard to come by and I want one more.”
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