This is the third in a series of 10 Burning Questions the Yankees face this offseason
He finished among the top 10 closers in baseball with 39 saves, held opposing hitters to an impressive .192 average, his strikeouts per nine innings ratio was an eye-popping 13.42 and his WHIP was an excellent 1.06.
Aside from his rather high ERA, skewed by some late-season hiccups, his first full season as the Yankees closer was roughly comparable to the incomparable Mariano Rivera's final season, and, in fact, Mo blew more saves (seven of 51 opportunities) and at a slightly higher rate (13 percent) in 2013 than Robertson did in 2014 (five out of 44 chances, 11 percent).
So now, with Robertson approaching free agency, the Yankees have a big decision to make: Do they commit to Robertson as their closer for the foreseeable future? Or do they roll the dice with a less binding offer knowing they have a fallback position in Dellin Betances, who, by just about every statistical yardstick, had an even better season than Robertson?
In reality, the Yankees have three choices: They can make Robertson an offer he can't refuse -- something in the neighborhood of three years for $42-$45 million, which would put him in the same financial neighborhood as the likes of Jonathan Papelbon and former Yankees closer Rafael Soriano. They can offer him the qualifying offer of $15 million for one year, which he can take or leave; if he leaves, the Yankees will get a compensatory draft pick.
The problem with either of those options is Robertson would probably take them, and the Yankees have far bigger holes to fill than closer. They would be much better off spending that kind of money on a quality starter, or a shortstop, or power bat for one of the corner outfield spots.
Or, they can do nothing -- or make a modest offer that Robertson is likely to refuse -- and go all-in with Betances.
So what should they do?
By the numbers, Robertson had a good year, but aside from his high K/9 ratio -- which is what you want from any reliever, and especially your closer -- Robertson did not particularly distinguish himself as more than a run-of-the-mill closer in comparison to his peers.
He was no Aroldis Chapman, whose K/9 ratio was more than 17(!!), who held opposing hitters to a .121 batting average, had a ridiculous WHIP of 0.83 and blew just two saves out of 40.
He was no Greg Holland, who had an ERA of 1.44 and was the least likely to blow a save of any of the 17 MLB closers who had at least 30 saves, blowing just two out of 50.
In fact, as good as Robertson's numbers were, they were decidedly non-spectacular when compared to others doing the same job.
His WHIP was higher than that of 10 other closers -- Koji Uehara, Holland, Craig Kimbrel, Papelbon, Zach Britton, Jake McGee, Mark Melancon, Chapman, Joaquin Benoit and Sean Doolittle -- all of whom were below 1.00.
His home run rate was a rather high 0.98 per nine innings -- higher than all but 21 other MLB relievers and higher even than teammate Shawn Kelley's (0.87). His walk rate (3.22) placed him smack in the middle of the 17 closers with at least 30 saves.
And although his blown-save ratio was slightly better than Mo's in 2013, there were 10 other closers, again with at least 30 saves, who were statistically less likely to blow a save in 2014, including Fernando Rodney and Francisco Rodriguez.
And Robertson's WAR of 1.2, if that is your be-all and end-all, was 10th among all MLB closers.
So should the Yankees pay Robertson like one of the best closers in baseball when the numbers say he is only very good? If they offer Robertson the qualifying offer, it will be more money than any of those other closers will make in 2015; the highest paid of them all are Rodney and Soriano, both of whom made $14 million last season.
These are the things the Yankees will consider when trying to determine how much to pay Robertson in 2015 and beyond. There is a belief among the Yankees staff that Robertson has something that doesn't show up in the stats: the intestinal fortitude to deal with pressure situations, hence his nickname, "Houdini." That is something a youngster such as Betances, who might well have it also, has yet to prove.
There is also a school of thought among at least one member of the Yankees hierarchy that says getting the final three outs of a game is no different than getting the first three and that, for one season at least, just about anyone can do it. That dovetails with the reality that even the great Rivera could be replaced for one season. Soriano proved that in 2012 when he saved 42 games after Mo got hurt. Rivera's greatness, of course, lay in the fact he did it for 17 seasons, not just one.
It will be interesting to see which school of thought the Yankees adhere to this offseason.
If they really believe Robertson is irreplaceable, they should pay him as such. If they're still unsure, they should extend him the qualifying offer and allow him to either shop for a better deal or come back for 2015 to give them another look.
And if they think they have another Rivera, or perhaps only another Chapman, on their roster in Betances, then they should swallow hard and let him walk.
What do you think? Should the Yankees commit to David Robertson as their long-term closer by offering him a multiyear deal?