What the Marlins and Mets Got in the David Robertson Trade

David Robertson of the New York Mets

The Marlins already made one move of significance this month, after the acquisition of Jorge López from the Twins. And with just a few days before the 2023 MLB Trade Deadline, Miami picked up another arm — but this time from a division rival. Veteran right-hander David Robertson is now a Marlin, after the Mets dealt him for two prospects. Here’s a closer look at the deal.

Related: What the Brewers and Pirates Got in the Carlos Santana Trade

The Marlins’ Return

When the Mets signed David Robertson in the winter, the hope was that the veteran righty could provide some much-needed stability in the bullpen. Robertson had a bounce-back campaign in 2022, one in which he accrued 81 strikeouts over 63.2 IP and played a key role in the Phillies’ run to the NL pennant.

But when Edwin Diaz went down in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, Robertson filled in as the Mets’ closer. Even though the Mets bullpen did have depth issues throughout much of the year, Robertson himself pitched fine. He nailed down 14 saves for the Mets as the closer, and pitched to the tune of a 2.05 ERA.

At his best, Robertson can frustrate hitters with an above-average cutter with plenty of movement and one he’ll use against both left-handed and right-handed hitters. Not to mention, the veteran right-hander owns a tight curveball that he commands exceptionally well, and can get whiffs and weak contact.

Robertson’s batted ball metrics are excellent this season, as the 38-year-old now heads to Miami to join a bullpen that includes Tanner Scott, A.J. Puk, and a newcomer in Jorge López.

The Mets’ Return

  • 2B Marco Vargas (.283/.457/.442 (.899 OPS), two home runs, eight stolen bases, 14 XBH in 33 games (FCL))
  • C Ronald Hernandez (.298/.464/.452 (.916 OPS), three home runs, nine extra base hits in 31 games (FCL))

In return, the Mets picked up two high-ceiling prospects in Marco Vargas and Ronald Hernandez.
We’ll start with Vargas, a left-handed hitting second baseman that put up a strong campaign in the Dominican Summer League in 2022 and continued to surge this season.

Vargas hit 14 extra base hits in his 33 games in the FCL this season, including 11 doubles. There’s some power for sure already, and scouts reportedly love his ability to make hard contact and his plate recognition. The 18-year-old posted a .457 OBP and a 22:38 K:BB ratio this season, prior to the trade.

Hernandez, meanwhile, is a switch-hitting catcher signed by the Marlins for $850,000 in 2021. Public scouting reports laud his ability to receive behind the plate. And thus far, he’s shown the ability to put the ball in play and work counts. The 5’11’’ catcher hasn’t shown much power in his career, but at 155 pounds, there’s likely some room to add muscle and strength.

MLB.com ranked Vargas as the sixth-best prospect in the Mets farm system after the trade, while Hernandez was ranked #17.

The Verdict

The Marlins bullpen has yielded uneven results since the start of June. While the team’s rotation, led by a resurgent Sandy Alcantara — who owns a 3.31 ERA in the month of July — and Jesus Luzardo, has been fine, closer A.J. Puk has not. Among the 213 relievers that pitched in at least five games from July 1-28, Puk’s 9.82 ERA is in the bottom 15 of the league.

The addition of Robertson gives the Marlins a reliable veteran arm that could make things a bit easier for manager Skip Schumaker in the ninth inning. Now, Schumaker has the option to use Robertson in the ninth — or Puk depending on whether lefties are scheduled to hit in the final frame.

The Mets, on the other hand, get two high-upside prospects in Vargas and Hernandez. No, neither of them are close to the Majors. But, the potential of Vargas does make this a tantalizing trade from the Mets’ perspective. It’s a tough pill to swallow in a sense, given the Mets’ hopes heading into the season. Nonetheless, this trade does have the potential to yield dividends in the future.