By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
FORT MYERS — Baseball players understand that trades are just part of the business.
It’s not unusual for an athlete to get a phone call from his agent to inform he’s being sent to a new team, but in the 21st century, when a player’s cell phone isn’t working, it makes things a little more difficult.
Daniel Robertson had just returned to his home in Southern California after a vacation in January of 2015, where one of the worst imaginable things for a millennial happened: his cellphone fell in water and broke.
Robertson still had his iPad, though, which he used to check his Twitter one morning.
Messages like “Congrats on being traded to a great organization!” and “Sad to hear @D_Robertson28 has been traded” filled his mentions.
This was startling news for the then-Oakland Athletics prospect.
“I saw it on Twitter, then I ran in my brother’s room and said ‘Hey, man. I need to use your phone. I think I just got traded,’” Robertson said Thursday, prior to a spring training game against the Boston Red Sox.
Robertson was able to get in contact with his agent, who confirmed the A’s were sending him (and others) to the Tampa Bay Rays for Ben Zobrist (and others).
“At the time it was a surprise,” Robertson said. “They had just traded Addison Russell to the Cubs, so at the time, there was a clear path. I enjoyed my time over there. This is now my third spring here, and I feel as comfortable as I’ve been. Just getting to know everybody on a personal level.”
The A’s traded Russell, their No. 1 prospect, in July of 2014. This meant, at least in the mind of Robertson, that his time was coming soon to be the future starting shortstop in Oakland. The A’s had different thoughts.
Although it’s his third spring training with the Rays, it’s his first year on the 40-man roster.
The 22-year-old is in an interesting spot on the roster. He’s in a small group of the 65 players at camp who could end up on the opening-day roster, or – more likely – begin the season at Triple-A Durham.
“You try not to think about it,” Robertson said. “Just trying to come out here, get better every day and work out at all three positions. Just want to get ready for the season, no matter where that may be. I want to leave a good impression.”
Franklin made a good impression in Thursday’s loss, as he picked up the first RBI of the game for the Rays in the fifth inning.