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Roster review: Clint Robinson

Oct 21, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

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Age on Opening Day 2016: 31

How acquired: Minor-league free agent, Dec. 2014

MLB service time: 1 year, 28 days

2015 salary+bonuses: $525,000

Contract status: Under team control in 2016, arbitration-eligible in 2018, free agent in 2021

2015 stats: 126 G, 352 PA, 44 R, 84 H, 15 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 34 RBI, 0 SB, 37 BB, 52 SO, .272 BA, .358 OBP .424 SLG, .782 OPS, 5 E, 0.2 UZR (at 1B), -4.4 UZR (at LF), 0.2 WAR

Quotable: “He’s been a very nice surprise for everybody. We didn’t know going in where he would fit or how, and due to Zim’s injury and many others he’s been able to play and be consistent. That’s all good for him. I think he’s responded to the challenge very well.” — Matt Williams on Clint Robinson

2015 analysis: A virtual nobody when he arrived at spring training on a minor-league contract, Clint Robinson wound up impressing the Nationals’ coaching staff and front office in Viera and earning his first-ever spot on an Opening Day roster. He never gave up that spot, proving quite a valuable left-handed bat off the bench who ultimately was needed to start far more than anybody could have expected.

Robinson was always a good hitter in the minors, so his success at the big-league level wasn’t a complete shock. He simply needed an opportunity to play. And he got that in Washington, taking advantage of injuries to Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth that opened up starting jobs at both first base and in left field.

Robinson’s defense wasn’t much to speak of, but he made up for it with his professional approach at the plate. He produced an above-average walk rate (10.5 percent), below-average strikeout rate (14.8 percent) while hitting home runs and line drives more regularly than the typical major-league batter.

2016 outlook: The Nationals saw more than enough of Robinson this year to conclude he should return next year and play an important role. But they recognize that role ideally involves coming off the bench and not being pressed into everyday duties as much as he was this season.

Robinson’s minor-league track record and peripheral numbers in his first big-league season suggest 2015 wasn’t a fluke. The man can hit. Perhaps the Nats will see Robinson as a strong backup option to Zimmerman and will be willing to give the veteran more regular days off in an attempt to keep him healthy. The club does, however, need a better fourth outfielder option than Robinson, who only learned how to play the position this year and never really appeared well-suited to it.

  1. JayB - Oct 21, 2015 at 6:41 AM

    Hey Mark, Post reported and Boz included in his chat this week the news that Training Staff and Strenght Staff was fired. Given that health of players has long been and issue and specifically the go to excuse of the players and leadership of the Nats in 2015 what have you heard? Is it strange that the Post reported it and nobody else has?

  2. chaz11963 - Oct 21, 2015 at 7:43 AM

    CRob was one of the bright spots that came out of the 2015 season. He’s terrible in the field, but in CRob (and den Dekker) they may have lucked into a couple of solid LH bench bats.

    • unkyd59 - Oct 21, 2015 at 8:37 AM


    • Doc - Oct 21, 2015 at 8:45 AM

      Both lefties, too, which is good news. Den decker appears to be coming into his own, and was darn good down the stretch.

    • infideljack - Oct 21, 2015 at 10:01 AM

      Possibly denDekker could be much more than a solid LH bench bat. We need to see what happens in ST.

  3. jd - Oct 21, 2015 at 9:22 AM

    Robinson won me over. A very professional hitter and a good choice to back up Zim at 1st base and be the primary left handed bat off the bench.

    Den decker? I am not sure yet.

    • joemktg - Oct 21, 2015 at 9:59 AM

      Robinson the perfect bench player. Can come in and contribute at anytime including meaningful game reps. When building a bench, he’s the model.

    • Susanfaulkner - Oct 21, 2015 at 10:19 AM

      Totally agree with you on Clint. Good guy. I’ve said this before greatest walk up song ever! Den Dekker will be alright. He will get more experience and perform better.

  4. ArVAFan - Oct 21, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    He was the player “volunteered” to attend the meet and greet with the fans on the Pittsburgh trip. Really nice guy, appreciates the opportunity he’s gotten in the bigs, and definitely a hard worker. On one hand, you want to see him suceed, on the other hand you don’t want him to be playing all the time because Ryan is injured (again).

  5. mlblogsnatsboy - Oct 21, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    Clint Robinson is a AAAA player, and the fact that he was used so often is a damning indictment to Matt Williams’ management, Mike Rizzo’s roster construction, and the way the 2015 season went. He is not a major league defender, not at first base and particularly not in the outfield. He gets a few hits but what he adds with the bat, he takes away with the glove. Jayson Werth wasn’t the only one who felt like ripping up the line up card when he saw Robinson’s name in there. I did too. Robinson would be a good trade chip to an American League team who wants a DH who works cheap. Orioles anyone?

    • chaz11963 - Oct 21, 2015 at 10:00 AM

      We need Robinson off the bench. Sure, he’s not a defensive replacement, but he is a very reliable LH bench bat. I doubt you get anything better for LH bench bat.

      • veejh - Oct 21, 2015 at 10:08 AM

        Agree. Once we finally find a solid LH bat off the bench, we’re supposed to trade him? Nonsense.

  6. DaveB - Oct 21, 2015 at 10:32 AM

    Assuming they consider Clint a keeper and only a 1B, I think that means that the IF is pretty full. While it is obviously possible to trade Escobar, or hold TT back in Cuse for awhile, it is pretty hard to find to find a big bat upgrade in the IF.

    Playing that out, the most likely place to get one more impact bat into the lineup would almost have to be a corner OF. Given the need to have a significant upgrade after last season’s disappointments, I expect to see lots of discussion around the Nats and Jason Heyward, Alex Gordon, or perhaps trades for Jay Bruce or CarGo, or maybe Ben Zobrist (if they want to keep TT in the minors at the start of the season, but have a ready swap available for an injury in either the OF or the IF).

    Given the exiting FAs, they could easily fit the salary for any of those, and still have plenty left to upgrade the BP. It would just move MAT & JW into a position of competing / alternating for the positions of 3/4 th OF. Any of those FAs would hamstring them somewhat out in the future years, but that is the price you have to pay these days (and eventually they have to get resolution of the TV deal, right?, right?)

    • chaz11963 - Oct 21, 2015 at 11:30 AM

      Completely agree. IMO, ideally, they would keep Trea as back-up IF and make a deal for a BIG bat corner OF. Here’s the list, who would you guys pick?-

      Left Fielders

      Yoenis Cespedes (30)
      Rajai Davis (35)
      Alejandro De Aza (32)
      David DeJesus (36) – $5MM club option with a $1MM buyout
      Chris Denorfia (35)
      Jonny Gomes (35) – $3MM club option
      Alex Gordon (32) – $12.5MM player option
      Kelly Johnson (34)
      Matt Joyce (31)
      Justin Maxwell (32)
      David Murphy (34) – $7MM club option with a $500K buyout
      Gerardo Parra (29)
      Steve Pearce (33)
      Colby Rasmus (29)
      Sean Rodriguez (31)
      Skip Schumaker (36) – $2.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
      Justin Upton (28)
      Chris B. Young (32)
      Delmon Young (30)

      Right Fielders

      Nori Aoki (34) – $5.5MM club option with a $700K buyout
      Jose Bautista (35) – $14MM club option with a $1MM buyout
      Marlon Byrd (38)
      Alejandro De Aza (32)
      David DeJesus (36) – $5MM club option with a $1MM buyout
      Chris Denorfia (35)
      Jason Heyward (26)
      Torii Hunter (40)
      Matt Joyce (31)
      Justin Maxwell (32)
      David Murphy (34) – $7MM club option with a $500K buyout
      Gerardo Parra (29)
      Ryan Raburn (35) – $3MM club option with a $100K buyout
      Colby Rasmus (29)
      Alex Rios (35)
      Grady Sizemore (33)
      Will Venable (33)
      Shane Victorino (35)
      Chris B. Young (32)
      Delmon Young (30)

  7. bababooeytoyouall - Oct 21, 2015 at 11:43 AM

    Yesterday’s column noted that Espinosa’s was valuable because the team had a .568 winning percentage with him in the lineup and .433 without. Yet, by that metric Robinson is not particularly valuable since the nats have a winning % of .494 with him in the lineup and .529 when he’s not in.

    Either point that out in the article (though I guess that facts get in the way of the story) or acknowledge that winning percentage with player x in the lineup is totally, absolutely, bogus.

    • IsawTeddywin - Oct 21, 2015 at 2:26 PM

      Espi’s difference over a 162 games was 22! Wins. Robinson was 5 losses. Not hard to figure out why it was mentioned for Danny and not Clint.
      If there had been over .100 difference with CR, I suspect it would have been noted. I’ll admit it’s a somewhat questionable stat, but don’t see any reason to assume it was hidden. The article pretty much admits he’s nothing more than an adequate bench player. If he were better he’d be a starter.

  8. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 21, 2015 at 12:36 PM

    Bottom line: Clint Robinson is fine as a 24th or 25th man on the roster…unless and until someone better comes along. The last couple of roster spots are not where the Nats need to focus their attention right now.

    • senators5 - Oct 21, 2015 at 2:19 PM

      Agree with you but one positive for CR other than being a LH stick is that he was a terrific club house guy, always positive and supporting team mates…. and that is the type of player(s) the Nats definitely need going into 2016.

      • infideljack - Oct 21, 2015 at 4:53 PM

        Also at league minimum for the next 2 years, it makes no sense to spend on some high priced declining retread that may or may not produce.

  9. NatsNut - Oct 21, 2015 at 5:44 PM

    Clint Robinson would totally have been our Daniel Murphy in the playoffs.

  10. raleighnat - Oct 22, 2015 at 8:49 AM

    Robinson is idea for bench and backup first base. Backup first base is important given Ryan’s injury history. Parra seems like a great fit – he, Taylor and Werth rotate among left and center.

  11. tcostant - Oct 22, 2015 at 10:11 AM

    Clint Robinson should mean that Tyler Moore is trade. They both play similar positions, but Robinson is way better off the bench. Granted that Moore is better on defense, but this role doesn’t call for that. Bye Tyler.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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