Written By Dave Norman
Turks Play-by-Play Announcer
People always ask him the same question: “Is there something wrong with these people?”
Former Turk Clint Robinson, has been in four organizations in nine professional seasons, dominant at nearly every stop and seemly blocked at a major league job. As chance would have it, Robinson a 25th round pick of Kansas City in 2007 has been where a higher
priority player needs to get to the big leagues because of the large financial commitment made to him. Eric Hosmer and Clint played together in the minor leagues but it was Hosmer the high draft pick that advanced the big leagues sooner. “When you have 6 million dollars tied up in a draft pick, he is going to play.” Robinson states matter of fact.
“You just have to have the right talent in the right situation and the right temperament, so when your time comes, you’re ready. You have to manage your daily routine and your life. Some players don’t deal well with the isolation and the responsibility in the minor leagues. The college summer leagues, the way Bob runs the Turks, mirrored the minor leagues and helped me know what to expect.”
With all of the success at AAA, Clint made his major league debut in 2012 and has been a roster move away from the big leagues the past 4-5 seasons. He has been a September call up in Kansas City and Los Angeles.
In the off-season, Robinson was approached by the Washington Nationals. The Nats liked Clint’s bat and were also interested in working Robinson out at the corner outfield positions to expand his versatility. With just 10 games in the outfield in the minor leagues, work was required and Washington was willing to allow Clint the needed time in Spring Training.
“I worked my butt off to get comfortable out there and show them that I could do it.” A natural first baseman with over 600 games and a .988 fielding %, Clint knows that adding the outfield to his resume was the difference in making the Nationals out of Spring Training. His work in the outfield is still a work in progress and Robinson is aware of that. “It’s like anything, you need some reps there. I know I will drive in more than I will let in.” he says with a chuckle.
Nationals manager Matt Williams seemed thrilled and surprised that Robinson had not broken through earlier. “We saw what he had done in the minor leagues and that was attractive to us and our situation. He has a short, repeatable swing and will give us options off the bench.” Clint quite literally has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. A multiple-time organization all-star and most valuable player, the self-professed bat hoarder had hit his way to a big league opportunity. A solid spring in the field and at the plate shored up one of the final roster spots headed to Washington. “If I didn’t make the Nationals, I was going to stop in and stay with Bob and Teresa on my way to Buffalo (AAA).” In this case, I’m sure they understand.
There is a calm about Robinson, no counter-productive bitterness. He says “I am 100% in the here and now, focused on staying. The best 750 players in the world get to play. You have to keep plugging away to try and be in that group.”
One thing that Robinson is certain about, “I’d rather be a bench player in the major leagues than an everyday player in the minors, it’s a no brainer.” With nothing left to prove at the AAA level, it is easy to understand that conclusion.
So far this season, Robinson has been utilized just as Manager Williams projected in Spring Training. After a scuffling start, the extremely deep Nats have the post season in mind.
It is going to be an eventful fall either way as Clint and his wife Samantha are thrilled to have a September addition on the calendar, their first child. “That will be our big roster move.” Clint states. “We’re excited”. Robinson describes baseball as “the perfect job” for him. I am sure an off-season with he and Samantha’s first child will be
Turks Nation congratulates Clint on the climb to the majors and his perseverance. Have a great season Clint.