Robinson looks for a new team over the winter

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Kerry Robinson hopes he doesn't have to wait very much longer to know what his baseball future holds.

"I really hope something happens for me pretty quick," said Robinson, a former Southeast Missouri State University standout. "I've been training, and I'd like to know what I'll be doing next season."

Robinson, despite putting up solid numbers in limited playing time for the San Diego Padres this year, was outrighted by the organization to its Class AAA Portland team after the season. He immediately filed for free agency -- and has been waiting ever since as his agent has been in talks with several major league teams.

"It was pretty messed up, a confusing situation, and after they outrighted me, even though I'd done well, I thought it would be best for me to get with another organization," said Robinson, a St. Louis native who still makes his permanent home there.

Robinson, after spending the previous three years in a utility role with the St. Louis Cardinals, was traded by his hometown team to San Diego prior to the 2004 season.

A speedy outfielder, Robinson compiled strong statistics with both the Padres and the Portland Beavers.

With San Diego, Robinson hit .293 in just 92 at-bats, and he led the Padres with 11 stolen bases despite playing in only 80 games. He also scored 20 runs.

At Portland, where he was a starter, Robinson batted .306 and stole 25 bases while being thrown out just once.

After Robinson ended the season with the Padres, he figured he would be a part of their plans for the 2005 campaign, so being outrighted to Portland stunned him.

"I was really surprised," said Robinson, who completed his eligibility at Southeast in 1995.

Robinson, a .267 career major league hitter, played in at least 114 games with the Cardinals each season from 2001 through 2003, although he has yet to be a full-time regular in the big leagues. He has 35 career stolen bases but just three home runs in 671 at-bats.

While Robinson has longed for a starting position -- in fact, that desire expressed publicly to St. Louis manager Tony La Russa and perceived by some as discontent was one of the factors that reportedly led to his being traded by the Cardinals -- right now he's simply hoping for a major league job of any kind.

"We had interest from eight or nine teams early on, but I haven't heard anything lately," Robinson said. "I'm hoping that with the winter meetings over now, something will start to happen pretty soon for me."

Robinson, 31, has played 10 seasons of professional baseball, the first six spent primarily in the minors.

"I'm not young, but 31 is not old. I'm still in the prime of my career," he said. "There are so few leadoff guys with speed in the league, you would figure somebody would want me."

Added a laughing Robinson, who is on the slender side at 6 feet and 175 pounds: "Especially with all the steroid stuff, you'd think somebody would want me. They can look at me and know I'm not on anything."

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