Once the Orioles claimed second baseman Alexi Casilla off waivers from the Minnesota Twins earlier this month, it appeared that Robert Andino's days in an Orioles uniform were numbered.
Instead of facing the decision of whether to non-tender Andino by the Nov. 30, the Orioles dealt the veteran infielder to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday in exchange for outfielder Trayvon Robinson.
“We took the surplus from the infield and traded away an infielder to address a need in the outfield created when Nate McLouth and Endy Chavez became free agents,” Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said.
Andino — a fan favorite, especially after getting the game-winning hit in the Orioles' memorable Game 162 win over the Boston Red Sox in 2011 — was the team's Opening Day second baseman this past season, but he struggled to establish himself as an everyday player.
The 28-year-old Andino had a batting line of .211/.283/.305 in 127 games this past season. He hit a career-high seven homers to go along with 26 RBIs, but he recorded 13 errors, third most among American League second basemen.
He gave way to veteran Brian Roberts when Roberts returned from multiple concussions. But after Roberts landed back on the disabled list after just 17 games, Andino suffered through a midseason hitting slump and briefly lost his starting job to Omar Quintanilla.
Playing mainly left field, Robinson posted a .215/.272/.330 hitting line in 90 major league games the past two seasons. Robinson has had a promising minor-league career — recording a .281/.355/.432 line in parts of eight minor league seasons — including a .265/.331/.409 line last season at Triple-A Tacoma.
He's also shown some power in the minors, hitting 26 homers in 100 games in 2011 with the Dodgers' Triple-A team in Albuquerque before he was traded to the Mariners as part of a three-team deal that sent former Orioles lefty Erik Bedard to the Red Sox.
Robinson, who grew up in South Central Los Angeles, was a 10th-round pick by the Dodgers in 2005 out of high school. He was the first product of L.A.'s Crenshaw High School to make it to the majors since Darryl Strawberry.
“Trayvon Robinson has good speed, good legs and he has good offensive capability,” Duquette said. “He’s played good defense in left field particularly. He’s got to establish himself in the big leagues. He’s got to make a little more consistent contact, which he’s done in the minors, but it hasn’t translated so far to his performance so far in the big leagues.”
Left field remains a position in flux for the Orioles. The team would like to re-sign McLouth, who is a free agent, and Opening Day left fielder Nolan Reimold is coming off of neck surgery after missing all but 16 games last season.
Duquette still seems comfortable with his options at second base heading into the spring. Roberts is attempting to make another comeback — this time one from hip surgery —- while Casilla offers solid defense and speed, and utility man Ryan Flaherty showed a surging bat in the late part of his rookie season. The Orioles also currently retain Quintanilla, but he could be non-tendered.