Shane Robinson signed a minor-league contract with the Cleveland Indians on Thursday, according to a story on the Indians’ website, choosing a team facing a shortage of outfielders over the Twins’ projected surplus.
Robinson appeared in 83 games with the Twins in 2015 before becoming a free agent earlier this month, and Minnesota was interested in bringing back the 31-year-old outfielder for next season, too. “You need a guy who can play all three positions well, who can keep from getting stale even when he isn’t playing for a few days,” said Rob Antony, the Twins’ assistant general manager. “Shane had a pretty good year for us. He’s a good defensive player. We’d bring him back.”
The Twins won’t get a chance, however, after Robinson chose Cleveland, where the current projected outfield includes converted infielder Lonnie Chisenhall, journeyman center fielder Abraham Almonte, and Michel Brantley, who is coming back from shoulder surgery that could keep him out of the first few weeks of the 2016 season.
By contrast, the Twins project an outfield of Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano, with Max Kepler and Oswaldo Arcia hoping to earn spots as well. All five of those players are 24 years old or younger.
Robinson, 31, batted .250 for the Twins in his utility role last season, with 10 extra-base hits and six stolen bases. He also led the Twins with three hits and two walks in seven plate appearances as a pinch-hitter. He was outrighted to Class AAA Rochester after the season ended, and elected to declare free agency instead.