Orioles Swap Robert Andino for Mariners’ Trayvon Robinson: A Solid Deal For Both

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Updated: November 20, 2012

In a minor trade today, the Baltimore Orioles traded utility infielder Robert Andino to the Seattle Mariners for backup outfielder Trayvon Robinson. I guess the O’s decided that if Jon Papelbon is choking it up in the NL nowadays, Andino’s services are no longer needed. (Zing!)

On a more serious note, the trade makes sense for both squads. For Seattle, Robert Andino adds infield depth; a guy who can play second, third, short and, though he hit .211 last season, can be a serviceable major league starter if need be. Andino certainly doesn’t solve the Mariners offensive woes, in fact, he’s the type of defense first player of which they have too much. However, he has more experience and more upside than many of the other Mariners. Coupled with Chone Figgins, the Mariners now have a pretty deep infield behind starters Dustin Ackley, Brendan Ryan, and Kyle Seager.

For the Mariners, Trayvon Robinson was superflous and that’s my favorite part of this deal. As a backup outfielder, Robinson brought defense but almost nothing with the bat. In 90 career games, he’s a career .215 hitter with 5 hrs. What good is that for a team with offensive struggles anyway? The Mariners need a backup outfielder with some pop. They have defense in their starting lineup so defensive replacements really aren’t necessary. Seattle would be better suited with the type of player who can hit some homers and drive in some runs, but maybe can’t or shouldn’t  play the outfield every day. (Why does Jason Kubel come to mind as the prototypical player here?) The point is, it ain’t Robinson. Basically, Seattle turned a useless backup into a useful one.

For Baltimore, Andino became irrelevant with the emergances of Manny Machado and Ryan Flaherty. Machado took over at third last season and he’ll probably stay there next season with Gold Glover JJ Hardy remaining at short. That removes two possible positions for Andino, and Flaherty covers the third. Flaherty had a decent rookie campaign hitting .216 in 77 games. While that doesn’t sound so hot, remember that it’s still five points higher than Andino hit. Ryan is tall and athletic and a good defender at second, and with Machado, Hardy, Adam Jones, Matt Weiters, and others from last season still in the lineup, Baltimore doesn’t need a ton of pop out of second base.

Baltimore’s issues are the Yin to Seattle’s Yang; Robinson fits where Andino didn’t, and vice versa. Nick Markakis and Adam Jones are well entrenched in rightfield and centerfield, but right now left field is a bit open. Perhaps Robinson, who is only 25, will benefit from a change of scenery and new coaches and make a push to start. At the very least, he can be a backup to someone like Nolan Reimold who is in the lineup more for his bat than glove–and he’ll help fill in during the inevitable Nick Markakis DL stint sometime next summer.

Bottom line, this trade doesn’t change the condition of either of these teams. It is a trade of two backup players and it won’t make or break their seasons. Neither of these teams is done for the winter, though. They will both continue to make moves and may even go head to head for a big name free agent or two. This trade addresses some of the minor foundational pieces necessary on good teams.

It is just this type of unremarkable move that we could all be looking back on in September, calling it a harbinger of good things to come.

-Max Frankel

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