The Los Angeles Dodgers require a bullpen supplement if they're going to make it to the finish line of the 2023 MLB season.
After surveying the landscape, ol' reliable was probably their safest and best bet.
David Robertson, who has done this forever, who has closed forever, who still sports a 2.05 ERA, 1.7 bWAR, 48 strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP in 44 innings, was available to join the Dodgers' back end mix this summer. The Mets, an unmitigated disaster beginning to come to terms with their fate, are probably not going to be able to clear Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, but they could certainly clear Robertson's prorated $10 million without batting an eye.
The Dodgers wouldn't bat an eye at that idea, either. There is no tax bill too large for Andrew Friedman, who understands that his undermanned and overperforming Dodgers team is owed a few breaks.
Out of nowhere, though, the Marlins became MLB's most proactive team in the relief market, trading teenaged infielder Marco Vargas and young catcher Ronald Hernández in exchange for Robertson in an effort to keep themselves afloat in the Wild Card race. Did the Dodgers have the teenagers to match? You bet they did.
Dodgers could've sent two lottery ticket prospects to Mets for David Robertson
The Dodgers will now be slightly pushier on their resulting calls with the Chicago White Sox, as Kendall Graveman and a Joe Kelly reunion veer closer towards reality.
Kelly represents chaos, though. Even the Dodgers, the team most familiar with his body of work, surely know that. Either of the White Sox relievers seemed more appealing when paired with, say, Lucas Giolito. Now that he's gone to Anaheim and the Dodgers have filled the middle infield with Amed Rosario and Kiké Hernández instead of Tim Anderson, any Chicago-LA deal will be closer to a one-for-one than a blockbuster.
Plus, the remarkably consistent Robertson is just ... better.
If the Dodgers were unwilling to match the Marlins' price, they shouldn't have been. If the Dodgers were outfoxed and beaten to the finish line by a more desperate team, so be it. Though we're well aware that Friedman doesn't typically go brand name for his relievers, Robertson could've, and should've, been the exception, especially considering how palatable his price was.