agreeing to terms on a four-year, $46 million contract with closer David Robertson, multiple sources said.
Robertson, 29, took over the closer's role in New York last year from Mariano Rivera and went 4-5 with a 3.08 ERA and 39 saves for the Yankees. He has a 2.81 career ERA in seven seasons.
The Sox were a disaster in the bullpen in 2014, so while this move might be an overpay, it is something the South Siders absolutely had to do.
Their closer by committee approach last year totaled just 36 saves, which was better than only five major league teams. Their 4.28 bullpen ERA ranked 28th out of the 30 teams in baseball. Only the Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros were worse. A big move was necessary. The signing of Robertson qualifies.
What's to like about Robertson? He strikes people out.
For his career, Robertson has struck out 12.0 batters per nine innings pitched. As the New York closer last season, he fanned 96 men in 64.1 innings pitched. That's a rate of 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings. He struck out more than 37 percent of the batters he faced in 2014. If opposing batters can't put the ball in play, they can't get hits. That's a trait you like in any closer.
About the only concern I have with Robertson: He gave up seven home runs last year. That's a little high, but considering what the Sox had last year in the bullpen, I'll take my chances.
You figure Robertson, left-hander Zach Duke and right-hander Jake Petricka now make up the back end of the Sox' bullpen. I wouldn't be surprised if we see another relief pitcher or two added before the offseason is over. The Sox are believed to be targeting Park Ridge native Luke Gregerson, who has pitched previously with the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics.