Orioles acquire Robinson, trade Andino to Seattle (updated with quotes)
Dealing with a surplus of middle infielders, the Orioles traded Robert Andino to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for outfielder Trayvon Robinson in a deal reached Tuesday afternoon.
The 25-year-old Robinson played 46 games for the Mariners last year, making 39 starts (all in left field) while batting .221 with 16 runs, four doubles, three homers, 12 RBIs and six steals. He appeared in 46 of the Mariners’ final 60 games after spending most of the early season with Triple-A Tacoma, where he hit .265 with nine homers and 41 RBIs to go along with a .740 OPS in 83 games.
“What we like about Robinson is his speed, his legs and power potential,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of the trade, which gives the Orioles –who lost Endy Chavez and Nate McLouth to free agency this winter – some outfield depth. “[Robinson] plays good defense, particularly in left field. He needs to make a little better contact in the big leagues. He made good contact in the Minors and in Triple-A abut it hasn’t really translated yet.”
Robinson, who was acquired by the Mariners from the Red Sox in a 2011 Trade Deadline deal, got the phone call from Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik early Tuesday morning with the news. It wasn’t a surprise for Robinson, who is out of Minor League options –meaning he would have to clear waivers if he doesn’t make the big-league team this spring – and was in a Seattle organization filled with outfielders.
“The Orioles, they want me. I feel like there’s opportunity,” said Robinson, who spoke with MLB.com shortly after hearing from Duquette. “They are planning on giving me a look, giving me some at-bat, to try to help the team win. All I’m asking for is a chance; I think it’ll be a better situation.”
Baltimore has made it no secret adding an outfielder –to play left field in particular – was on the offseason agenda, and Duquette said trading for Robinson doesn’t rule out a return for McLouth. The Orioles are also expected to have Nolan Reimold –last year’s Opening Day left fielder – fully recovered from season-ending neck surgery.
“I think the important thing is the club addressed the need in the outfield, the need for additional outfield depth,” he said. “It’s a possibility [to sign another outfielder] but in Trayvon Robinson we have an outfielder that has speed and some power. He needs to improve his on-base capabilities.”
Robinson, who was glad to hear from his new GM so quickly, said he is comfortable anywhere in the outfield and credits Mariners teammate Chone Figgins with helping his development as a big leaguer this past season. A former Dodgers prospect, Robinson’s first roommate was current Oriole pitcher Steve Johnson –the pair have remained friends since –and he’s familiar with manager Buck Showalter having grown up a Texas Rangers fan and watching Showalter in the dugout from 2003-06.
“I know that he’s going to make you play the game right and that’s all I pretty much need to know,” Robinson said of his new manager.
“When we played against them, I felt they had a pretty good energetic team. 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.”
Arguably no Oriole player matured more under Showalter than the 28-year-old Andino, who hit .211 with 41 runs, 13 doubles, seven home runs and 28 RBIs in 127 games for the Orioles in 2012. Andino — who assumed the bulk of second base duties in lieu of Brian Roberts the past three seasons — is best-known for delivering the walkoff RBI single to keep the Red Sox out of the 2011 playoffs and was a well-liked guy in the clubhouse. But the addition of Alexi Casilla, who was claimed off waivers earlier this season, crowded an infield picture that also features Roberts, Ryan Flaherty and Omar Quintanilla.
“Robert did a good job and helped us turn around the team,” Duquette said of Andino, who is also arbitration-eligible and could have been non-tendered at the end of the month. “We appreciated that. Casilla has plus-plus range. And plus-plus speed, which I think is additive to the ballclub.”