It’s interesting how powerful a name is. When I initially found out the Mariners had ‘signed’ Gerut and Robertson as non-roster invites to Spring Training, I was happy. There is a strong correlation in my brain between Nate Robertson and the 2006 Detroit Tigers, and there is a correlation between the 2006 Detroit Tigers and good pitching (in my head, at least). Similarly, the only association I make when the name Jody Gerut is placed before me is with good fielding. Those associations would have served me well had it been the year 2008. Sadly, it isn’t.
Suffice to say, I was surprised to find out that Gerut and Robertson each fell off a cliff around 2008 as productive baseball players.Robertson posted xFIP’s of 4.35, 4.70, and 4.68 in 2006, 2007, and 2008 respectively. Then his walk rate shot up and, hey, he stopped being an effective pitcher. Gerut was worth 3.0 wins above replacement in 2008, due in part to a .365 wOBA and 7.2 UZR/150 playing mostly center-field. Then he was traded to the Brewers and his career took a nosedive.
Robertson has the potential to help the M’s a bit in 2011, either as a 5th starter or as a reliever, whereas Gerut doesn’t bring anything new to the table in terms of the Mariners roster as currently put together. These two have disappeared off the map of interesting baseball players. I don’t know if either will rejoin that list next year, but I’ll be happy if they do.