Top free-agent closer David Robertson is looking for "Papelbon money" in his next contract, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com.
The "Papelbon money," refers to Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon's 4-year, $50 million deal he signed in 2011. It was the largest contract ever given to a relief pitcher, and Robertson is hoping to land something similar. If Robertson had accepted the Yankees' $15.3 qualifying offer, his 2015 salary would be the largest annual salary of any relief pitcher in MLB history. Mariano Rivera, Robertson's predecessor in New York, made $15 million on four different occasions late in his career.
As for Papelbon, his annual salary with the Phillies maxes out at $13 million a year. The attachment of the qualifying offer to Robertson is something that Papelbon did not have to deal with in 2011, and teams may not pay as much due to the fact that Robertson will cost them a first round draft pick in 2015.
Robertson just wrapped up his first season as the Yankees' closer. After serving as a setup man for Rivera for six years, Robertson replaced Rivera in 2014. For the 2014 season, Robertson posted a 3.08 ERA, along with 39 saves and a 13.43 K/9 rate. Since the 2011 season, Robertson has been one of the game's most dominant relief pitchers, finishing in the top 5 in the majors in ERA and K/9 over the last four seasons.