Mariners acquire infielder Andino from Orioles
This one isn’t a blockbuster, but it is a move that adds needed depth in the infield for Seattle in exchange for a youngster who very likely was going to get lost in the outfield mix, presuming the Mariners add a veteran corner outfielder in free agency or trade.
Robinson is out of Minor League options, so he was either going to have to make Seattle’s 25-man roster next spring or be exposed to waivers if he was sent down. Casper Wells and Mike Carp are in the same situation, so the Mariners are looking at a number’s game there with Michael Saunders and Franklin Gutierrez also returning and the team also hoping to add a bigger bat if possible.
Robinson had a hunch something might happen this offseason, though he still sounded a bit surprised shortly after the deal went down.
“I knew it’d be something a little different because I am out of options,” Robinson said. “The Mariners knew the type of player I am in their organization, but I guess this is a better fit for me going to the Orioles. Everything happens for a reason, I’m a true believer in that. I’d like to thank the Mariners moreso for the opportunity to play in the Majors.
“I’ll just have to start over and make new friends. But I’m not going to forget the guys I shared those first moments with in Anaheim in 2011 [when he made his Major league debut].”
Andino started at second base much of the last two seasons in Baltimore for the oft-injured Brian Roberts, but is a good glove man who can also play shortstop. He’ll certainly be a quality upgrade over Munenori Kawasaki as a utility infielder and, who knows, maybe he’ll challenge Brendan Ryan for the starting shortstop job if Ryan doesn’t come back stronger offensively.
“The addition of Robert Andino gives us some experienced infield depth with a player who has played multiple positions,” said Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik. “With Robert having Major League and playoff experience and still relatively young, we thought that it made sense to make this trade and let him come in and compete.”
Andino, 28, is a career .235 hitter in parts of eight seasons with the Marlins and Orioles. He earned $1.3 million last year in his first season of arbitration eligibility. Unless he signs a longer-term deal, he’ll have two seasons of arbitration eligibility with the Mariners before becoming a free agent in 2015. He also is out of Minor League options.
Robinson, 25, hit .215 with five home runs and 26 RBIs in 90 games over the past two years for Seattle while earning the MLB minimum of $480,000 as a mid-season addition in 2012. He figures his style of play will fit in with the Orioles.
“When we played against them, I felt they had a pretty good, energetic team,” he said. “For me, it’s a good fit. The way I play the game, I hustle, run into things and try to beat the opponent any way I can. The way they played against us, they didn’t quit. I don’t quit either. We’ll see what happens. I have a good feeling it’s going to be a good year again.”
Andino played a career-best 139 games and hit .263 with five home runs and 36 RBIs in 2011, then fell to .211 with seven homers and 28 RBIs in 127 games this past season, with 99 of those games coming at second base.
While this isn’t a mega-deal, it is a move that should make the Mariners better by adding a veteran in a place of need in exchange for a younger prospect from a position of depth, similar to the John Jaso trade last year for Josh Lueke.
The Mariners remain at 37 players on the 40-man roster, with a few moves expected later today prior to the 9 p.m. PT deadline to set rosters prior to the Rule 5 draft.