The best story in the Giants organization this spring won't be told by a member of last year's big league roster.
When the Giants offered Drew Robinson a contract for the second straight season, it was far from your normal invitation to minor league camp. Robinson is trying to take an unprecedented path back to the big leagues, as he explained in a stunning must-read profile written by ESPN's Jeff Passan.
In the piece, Robinson details how he battled depression and tried to commit suicide last April. He placed a handgun against his temple and pulled the trigger, but he somehow survived the shot, and after 20 hours on the verge of death he called 911 and was taken to a Las Vegas hospital. Robinson lost his right eye but otherwise has made a full recovery, and with a new outlook on life he has tried to help others.
"I was supposed to go through that," Robinson said in the ESPN piece. "I'm supposed to help people get through battles that don't seem winnable. It was completely supposed to happen. There's no other answer. It doesn't make any sense. It was supposed to happen."
The Giants brought Robinson, a 28-year-old utility man, to big league camp last spring as a non-roster invitee. He was still in camp when spring training was shut down by COVID-19 and kept in touch with team officials, including manager Gabe Kapler, after his suicide attempt. Kapler honored Robinson's nurses on his Instagram page in May when people around MLB paid tribute to frontline workers.
During the season, Robinson asked Kapler if he could come speak to the team about his experience. He gave a speech on Sept. 9, one day before World Suicide Prevention Day. As the piece details, Robinson brought many in the room to tears.
"I remember having this thought in my head: That is the toughest guy I've ever met," Alex Dickerson told ESPN. "Not just physically but mentally and how brave he is to be doing what he's doing."
Robinson worked out all summer as part of his recovery process, and in October, Kapler told him that he, Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris were in agreement that Robinson should be part of the organization. He signed a contract with an invite to minor league spring training and will get a chance to complete what would be one of the most improbable comebacks in MLB history. Zaidi told ESPN that the Giants felt Robinson earned a chance to return to the field.
"This opportunity wasn't just given to Drew," he said. "He earned it. He had a great camp with us last spring, and he's amazingly managed to look outward and be a big contributor to the organization even as he's had to work tirelessly to get back on the field. We're proud he's a Giant, and we're excited to see him compete for a job in camp."