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Nate Robertson, Mariner NRI

Nate Robertson

#31 / Florida Marlins



Sep 03, 1977

The Mariners have signed Nate Robertson to a minor league deal with an invitation to the major league camp this spring.

There are certain players who, for one reason or the other, seem to get linked with the Rangers, without there being any clear genesis of how that happened.  Robertson is one of those guys.  For the past three or four years, it seems like there has been talk on message boards, on the blogs, in the media, about the Rangers and Nate Robertson.

The odd thing about this is that, in the case of Robertson, I don't think there's ever been any indication that the Rangers even had any interest in him.  They really shouldn't have had any interest in him, because he's not very good.  Robertson has only posted an ERA+ better than 100 once, in 2006, when he posted a 3.84 ERA with a 119 ERA+. 

That was, I think, around the time people started throwing his name out there as someone the Rangers might, could, should, perhaps look at pursuing, even though his peripherals that season were just as crappy as they'd ever been, and his ERA was flukier than Moby Dick's tail.

And as a sidenote, Robertson's FIP and xFIP are weird.  Robertson has pitched almost his entire career in Detroit, in a park that depresses offense, and home runs in particular.  He's also a groundball pitcher.  Despite this, from 2002 through 2008, he consistently had HR/FB rates that were well above average, which meant that his xFIP kept suggesting he was just having bad luck and would be fine in no time, despite a FIP that said he wasn't good.

In 2009 and 2010, his home run rates finally went back towards normal, but his ground ball rates also went down.  So he was giving up more fly balls, but allowing fewer homers on those flies.  Weird.

In any case, the idea behind getting Robertson didn't seem to be that we should get him because he's fact, the fact that he wasn't good seemed to be pitched as a plus, since presumably Detroit wouldn't want much for him.  And the other plus was that he's lefthanded. 

But it got to the point where, when I'd see Robertson's name, I'd sort of inwardly cringe.  If his name appeared on the ESPN ticker on TV, I'd brace myself, then sigh in relief when he was on there because he gave up 7 runs in 2 2/3 IP or something like that, rather than because he was traded to Texas.

And so, when I saw on Twitter that he had signed a deal, my immediate reaction was, "Please not with Texas, please not with Texas..."

And it isn't even that he's not good -- not good players get NRIs all the time.  It is that I've spent so much time over the last few years talking about why Nate Robertson isn't good and shouldn't be acquired, in response to little more than speculation and random suggestions with no basis in reality, that I've gotten even more anti-Nate Robertson than I probably should be.

Enough, in fact, for me to write an entire blog post about the subject.

Weird, huh?