'We don't win a WS without him': Nats DFA Robles

May 27th, 2024

ATLANTA -- With the Monday reinstatement of right fielder Lane Thomas from the 10-day injured list (left MCL sprain), the Nationals designated outfielder for assignment in a corresponding move.

Robles, who was once a highly touted prospect whom MLB Pipeline ranked as highly as No. 4 overall, is the last remaining position player from the 2019 World Series championship team. Robles spent his entire career with the Nationals, making his Major League debut on Sept. 7, 2017.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez, who took over as the Nationals' skipper prior to the 2018 season, managed Robles for the majority of his career.

“It was definitely emotional,” Martinez said prior to Monday’s matchup against the Braves at Truist Park. “Those are always the toughest days when you have to lose a player, especially a guy like [Robles]. I’ve known him for many years. He helped us win the World Series. It was tough.

“All I could tell him is that I wish him the best and keep going. He needs to go find himself. He’ll help another team somewhere. I have a lot of feelings and emotions for [Robles]. We don’t win a World Series without him.”

Robles started in center field for all seven games of the 2019 World Series. He had a fielding percentage of 1.000 with 21 putouts in the Nationals’ championship run.

But Robles has struggled at the plate this season, posting a .120/.281/.120 slash line with no extra-base hits in 33 plate appearances. His season has also been hindered by a left hamstring strain that had him away from the Major League team from April 4-May 7. In Robles’ 1,834 career MLB plate appearances, he has a line of .236/.311/.356. Robles has a career fielding percentage of .989 with 1,177 putouts.

Robles also struggled with injuries in his career: He’s played 530 games over eight seasons.

“A lot of it had to do with injuries,” Martinez said. “He’d come back and he’d change some things but for me he has to find what his identity is. He’s made a lot of changes in his hitting. Hopefully he finds that spot where he’s comfortable.”

Thomas returned to the Nationals’ lineup for the first time since April 23, batting second and playing right field in the first game of a four-game series against the Braves.

“I’ve gotten really close with [Robles] over the last couple of years,” Thomas said. “That’s just the unfortunate part about what we do. There’s just so many spots. I obviously wished him well and hopefully I’ll see him across the field here soon if someone takes a chance.”