Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Trayvon Robinson is Back, But Where Is There Room For Him?

The Dodgers signed Trayvon Robinson to a minor league deal yesterday and I have to say, I’m surprised.  I’d like to say pleasantly surprised, but at this point, Robinson’s status as a prospect as questionable.  I think he’s destined for a season in Albuquerque and we already know he can play there, but is he good enough to excel at the major league level?  The jury is still out on that question.

Trayvon Robinson failed to stick with Baltimore last season, ending the year at AA Bowie of the Eastern League.(photo by Christopher T. Assad/Baltimore Sun)

What is it that happened to Robinson?  Touted as a top prospect from the Dodger farm system, he was a local boy that many were eager to see make the Dodger major league roster.  From 2009 to 2011, he was putting up respectable and advancing numbers at Inland Empire, Chattanooga and Albuquerque.  Always a fine defensive outfielder (with a below average arm).  A corner spot looked like a good place for him.  By then his power numbers were inching up, and he always had a good OBP in the .374-.400 range.  There seemed to be a lot of promise in the young prospect.  

Then July 31, 2011 arrived.  The trade deadline that to this day confused many of us.  

A 48-59 Dodger team entered the trade deadline 12.5 games out of first place. They traded Robinson away in a seven player/three team deal that landed them Tim Federowicz, Juan Rodriguez and Stephen Fife from Boston.  It is fair to say that most knowledgeable Dodger fans hated the deal.  Writer’s in baseball circles were confused too.

Keith Law, of ESPN said, “Unless Robinson was burning a hole in their pockets, this doesn’t make any sense to me, as they don’t get any prospect as good as he is in the exchange.”

Dodger G.M. Ned Colletti summed up the deal real simply by saying “we need catching and it’s easier to find an outfielder than it is a catcher.”   Two and a half years later, the move looks to be an astute one for Colletti as both Fedex and Fife have had some fine moments as Dodgers.

As a Mariner, Robinson robbed Torii Hunter of a home run in his MLB debut, August 6, 2011. (AP photo)

So Robinson was gone.  And seven days later while making his major league debut for the M’s in Anaheim, he made a highlight reel catch jumping into the left field stands to rob Torii Hunter of a homer.  It looked like he was on his way to a major league career.  Unfortunatley for Robinson, he could never find consistency on the big league stage.  He bounced between Seattle and Tacoma in 2011 and 2012. Then in 2013 the Mainers dealt him to Baltimore and it looked like he’d get a shot there.  

“We like him,” said O’s manager Buck Showalter during 2013 spring training.  “He’s going to get an opportunity here to show what he can do.  Switch hitting guys who can play three spots are hard to find, and especially at his age.  He’s still a young man.”  It was probably his youth that made the decision easy for the Orioles to send him back down to the minors.  And things went down from there, as he failed to produce at AAA Norfolk and eventually was demoted down to  AA Bowie.  At season’s end, the Oriole organization cut Trayvon loose.  In 107 minor league games last year, Robinson’s stat line was .247/.329/.394.  

Now 26 years old, he returns to the Dodger organization where there is little room to break in as the Dodger fifth outfielder where such players as Joc Pederson, Scott Van Slyke, Nick Buss, Mike Baxter and even newcomer Jeremy Hazelbaker are vying for the spot.  Remember that the Dodgers already have a glut of four star studded outfielders to cover the three starting spots.

Rumors were bandied about the blogosphere that the Padres were interested in signing Robinson to a minor league deal, so it was quite a surprise to see that he agreed to a minor league deal with the Dodgers.  Perhaps it was his familiarity with the organization that won out.  There is no measurement to his desire to break in with the team he grew up rooting for but he really has an uphill battle ahead.

So with that I say, “welcome back home, Trayvon.”  We’re glad you’re back, but a September call up is probably the best he can hope for,


  1. I see the starting outfield in Albuquerque as Pederson, Buss and Robinson. Trayvon's MLB stats are as good as Baxter's and Hazelbaker. Of course my view is slanted a bit. I think SVS will break ST with the Dodgers.

  2. A couple of things happened with Trayvon. He stopped stealing bases and his HR numbers in Albuquerque were reversed with his doubles numbers in Chattanooga so his power numbers in AAA were Albuquerque friendly.