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Relief market likely to pick up steam in Vegas

MLB.com @feinsand

LAS VEGAS -- While Craig Kimbrel's market continues to sort itself out, some other relievers could begin finding teams as the Winter Meetings get underway Monday at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

According to sources, interest in David Robertson has heated up, with at least a half-dozen teams expressing serious interest in the veteran reliever. The Mets and Red Sox have been connected to Robertson in recent days, but the Dodgers have emerged as a potential suitor, a source said.

LAS VEGAS -- While Craig Kimbrel's market continues to sort itself out, some other relievers could begin finding teams as the Winter Meetings get underway Monday at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

According to sources, interest in David Robertson has heated up, with at least a half-dozen teams expressing serious interest in the veteran reliever. The Mets and Red Sox have been connected to Robertson in recent days, but the Dodgers have emerged as a potential suitor, a source said.

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Los Angeles is seeking to bulk up the back end of its bullpen leading up to closer Kenley Jansen, making Robertson a nice fit.

Beyond Kimbrel, the relief market is stocked with accomplished arms, including Zach Britton, Andrew Miller, Jeurys Familia, Adam Ottavino, Kelvin Herrera, Joakim Soria, Cody Allen, Bud Norris, Joe Kelly and Brad Brach.

Two executives believe that while the baseball world waits breathlessly for Manny Machado and Bryce Harper to sign their mega-deals, the relief market could start moving as early as this week.

The starting pitching market, which lagged a year ago while relievers snapped up new deals, has been the one to move quickly this year. Patrick Corbin landed a $140 million deal from the Nationals, while Nathan Eovaldi signed a four-year deal worth $68 million to return to the Red Sox, who will formally introduce the pitcher at a Las Vegas press conference on Monday.

Kimbrel is the premier closer on the free-agent market, though he's looking for a deal in the Aroldis Chapman/Jansen range of more than $75 million. The rest of the relievers aren't expected to score deals of that magnitude, so teams might start plucking them off the board to bolster their bullpens.

Video: MLB Tonight on Kimbrel seeking a 6-year deal

The Red Sox would seem to be a natural fit for Robertson, who has pitched the majority of his career in the American League East with the Yankees, including going 8-3 with a 3.23 ERA and five saves in 69 games with New York in 2018. Robertson lives in Rhode Island, so geographically, Boston makes perfect sense. With Kimbrel expected to sign elsewhere and Kelly no lock to return, the Red Sox will likely look to add two bullpen arms in the coming weeks, with Robertson, Miller and Britton all possibilities.

The Yankees are also a potential destination for Robertson. He pitched in the Bronx from 2008-14 before signing a four-year, $46 million deal with the White Sox in December 2014, then returning to the Yanks in a July 2017 trade. But New York is also said to be interested in Ottavino and possibly Miller, leaving many doors open to add to their late-inning combination of Dellin Betances and Chapman.

Video: NYY@SEA: Robertson K's Gordon, the side in the 8th

As of Sunday, the only notable free-agent relievers to sign were Jesse Chavez (Rangers, two years, $8 million) and Trevor Rosenthal (Nationals, one year, $7 million), the latter of whom missed all of 2018 following Tommy John surgery.

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.

David Robertson