David Robertson talks about being subject of trade rumors
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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Closer David Robertson understands his days with the White Sox are likely numbered.
“It’s tough because there’s nothing I can really do,’’ Robertson said Tuesday. ‘‘I just try to put it in the back of my mind, come to the field and do the work I need to do. Whatever decision this organization makes is what they’re going to do.’’
Pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, sounding the opening bell for Sox camp. Robertson’s bell has been rung by the uncertainty of where he’ll be playing this season, but all he can do is carry on with the business of getting ready for his 10th season in the majors.
The Washington Nationals and Sox have been in talks for weeks, though. Robertson has two years and $25 million left on his contract, which the Sox wouldn’t mind shedding in this rebuilding stage as they look to add to a core of prospects already built up with the trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton.
“We expect [trade talks] to continue,’’ general manager Rick Hahn said. “We are going to continue to keep an open mind, and where there are conversations to be had, we will pursue them.
“We have had extensive conversations on various fronts, and as we sit here today, there’s nothing that’s gnawing at us or appealing enough to make us move.’’
In the meantime, Robertson and left-hander Jose Quintana come to work wondering how long they’ll be in this workplace. Quintana is expected to talk to the media Wednesday, but after addressing trade rumors during SoxFest, he will ask reporters to refrain from the subject.
“It’s probably harder for them when they’re not here,’’ Hahn said, “and they have to spend winter at home with their friends and family asking them, ‘Did you see this?’ and tweets sent to them with their names in rumors. When they’re here, they can focus more on doing their job. Regardless of the uniform they’re wearing, they know how to prepare for a season.
“They’re able to block out more of the outside distractions a little more easily when they’re here. I don’t foresee that being an issue at all.’’
Robertson figured he could be next as soon as Sale and Eaton were traded in December. But the Sox haven’t made any more major moves, aside from signing left-hander Derek Holland to a one-year, $6 million deal to offset the loss of innings by Sale and perhaps Quintana.
“I’m going to continue to work on getting better and let the cards fall where they’re going to be,’’ Robertson said. “I can’t do anything about it.
“If I stay here, great. If I get moved, it’s their decision.’’
Robertson, who, like Quintana, will pitch in the World Baseball Classic, had postseason arthroscopic surgery to repair a damaged meniscus in his left knee. He dealt with some command issues and had a 3.47 ERA in 2016 but refused to use the knee as an excuse. Every pitcher works through discomfort, Robertson said.
“I needed to get it fixed because it was irritating me, but I’m not going to put any of my performances on that,’’ he said.
In any event, he says he’s at full strength now. It will be business as usual, but he’ll show up for work wondering if it’s his last day at Camelback Ranch.
“At this point, everybody seems to understand what’s going on, and the focus in that clubhouse is on getting ready for Opening Day,’’ Hahn said.
Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.