When Victor Robles and the Washington Nationals avoided arbitration last winter and agreed to a one-year/$2.325 million contract in 2023, the contract included a team option for 2024, but X/ The Nationals rejected it on Thursday, as announced in . However, Twitter noted that “…Robles remains under team control and is eligible for salary arbitration this offseason.”
“The outfielder is not a free agent because he has less than six years of service, and the club may decide to sign him to an arbitration contract next year.” Darragh McDonald of mlbtraderumors.com I explained this in yesterday’s article about the nuts’ decision.
MLB trade rumors project Robles to make $2.7 million in arbitration this offseason, but his 2024 team option, if exercised by the Nationals, would pay the outfielder $3.3 million.
Robles, 26, hit 32-for-107 (.299/.385/.365) in at-bats this season, but was sent to the IL in early May with a hip injury and played a total of 36 games before returning. He only participated in the tournament. He arrived in mid-June, but ended up returning to Illinois on June 20th. He did not return to play in the 37th game, which the manager said was disappointing considering his performance earlier in the year.
“That stinks for him and it stinks for us because we asked him to change his swing.” Davey Martinez quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“He did it, and he did it really, really well,” Martinez added.
“I wish we could have seen that in 550 at-bats, because I think he would have surprised a lot of people. But now, only time will tell.”
Robles hit five doubles and one triple and drew 11 walks (132 games in 2022, 407 total PA games, 6 games left to reach the total.), and this year he had 18 strikeouts in 126 PA, showing signs that he heeded the advice the team offered him after a strong start and struggles at the plate from 2017-19 in the majors. Everyday center fielder on the 2019 World Series Championship roster (In 155 games and 617 PA, he had a batting average of .255/.326/.419 with 33 doubles, 3 triples, 17 home runs, 35 walks, and 140 Ks.).
From 2020-2022, Robles hit a combined .216/.291/.306 line in 291 games and 965 PA, averaging 20 doubles, two triples, and six home runs in 162 games. He got off to a strong start this past season, but a back injury sidelined him after June 20, Nats GM Mike Rizzo told reporters, but he was healthy at year’s end.
“I think his back is healthy for now.” Lizzo said, as quoted by MASN’s Zuckerman.. “He’s doing rehab training. He’s going to start baseball practice soon. And, hopefully, he’ll be able to play in the winter league and get back some of the at-bats that he missed this year due to injury.” I hope so.”
When Robles went to the IL for the second time in June, Martinez described the problem as “lumbar back spasm.” “He stinks because he was actually playing well. He’s hitting the ball, and he’s been hitting the ball all year,” the manager said, but the outfielder made a few questionable plays in center field. However, the club made the decision to take him off the field as he appeared to be injured.
“We’re going to be smart about it,” Martinez said. “I know he’s a little frustrated about this, but we’re going to take care of him and make sure he’s completely healthy.”
At the time, Martinez was asked if he had been bothering Robles throughout his return to the lineup after returning from his first IL stint.
“No, his response was — because I ask him every day — and his response to me was, ‘I feel it sometimes, but it’s not terrible,'” the captain said. “I feel like I can really play.” So the last time I talked to him, he said that bothered him. And I said, “Where are you?” And he said, “I feel it, but I only feel it when I’m running.” And he said, “I don’t care about hitting.” So I said, “Well, Vic, the important part of this game is you play center field, where you have to run.” So if we give you the IL and then you I think it would be wise to improve and start from there. ”
Robles entered the season with something to prove and showed some promising signs, but back issues limited his outfield appearances in a crucial season for the seven-year veteran. However, Rizzo said the organization still believes he has something to contribute.
“You’re looking at players who performed great on the big stage as rookies, as kids,” Rizzo said. “We know who he is. All we need is to get him back to his 2019 level.”
Alex Cole, 28, played in 87 games at center in Robles’ absence, and 24-year-old Jacob Young, a 2021 seventh-round pick, played in 32 games at center as a Washington rookie, ranking third on the team. . Lane Thomas played 11 of his 154 games in center field. The club currently has multiple high-end outfield candidates (Dylan Cruz, James Wood, Robert Hassell III, etc.) Making waves in the system and potentially replacing someone currently in the big league mix is something Rizzo was talking about at the end of the 2023 campaign.
“We have guys who are working hard to get to the big leagues, and they’ll be following in the footsteps of a lot of the big league players who are currently on the roster,” Rizzo said. said.
“So, this is what this is all about: competing at the highest level.”
What does that mean for Robles going forward? If healthy, will he be a permanent center fielder? Will he get a chance to get back on his feet before one of the young outfielders kicks down the door and forces the club to take over?
Can Robles and the Nationals agree to a deal worth less than $3.3 million and avoid potential arbitration? Is non-bidding a realistic possibility? Considering all the players they have and the prospects going forward within the organization, is a potential trade an option?