The immediate reaction from fans on this blog to yesterday’s trade between the Orioles and Mariners seemed to lean more toward disappointment than indifference.
Second baseman Robert Andino won over a lot of people with his walk-off single to beat the Red Sox in the final game of the 2011 season. They liked his swagger, his willingness to fill any role and his occasional movie reviews that were played on the video board at Camden Yards. He evolved into a lovable character, and one who really grew on manager Buck Showalter.
Keep in mind that Showalter insisted on taking a look at Andino after being hired in August 2010, though the reports on his desk suggested that the infielder - having been outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk - was pretty much a lost cause.
The acquisition of infielder Alexi Casilla basically pushed Andino out the door. Brian Roberts fully expects to be on the opening day roster as he continues his recovery from hip surgery and Ryan Flaherty made it through the entire 2012 season after being a Rule 5 pick. Andino is arbitration-eligible and out of options. The writing was on the wall.
Trayvon Robinson also is out of options and will be given every opportunity to win a job in spring training. He seems more likely to be used as a fourth outfielder if he sticks around, basically taking the place of veteran Endy Chavez. Critics of Robinson must decide whether he’s an upgrade over Chavez, not whether he’s acceptable as the everyday left fielder.
I’m fine with that swap.
The Orioles still want to re-sign Nate McLouth. Nolan Reimold remains on the roster and a viable option in left field. Executive vice president Dan Duquette didn’t dismiss the idea that the Orioles could bring in another outfielder. It’s not like Robinson is the final roster move before they head south for spring training.
One of my Twitter followers asked what impact the trade will have on the Orioles’ interest in Josh Hamilton. I can sum it up in one word: None.
OK, two words: Absolutely none.
Meanwhile, the Orioles are still two coaches short of a full staff.
“We’re working on the coaching staff,” Duquette said. “We’re trying to put it to bed this week. We’re trying to get it resolved this week.”
The only snag involves third base coach DeMarlo Hale, who interviewed for the Blue Jays’ bench coach job earlier this week. Showalter has been concerned that Hale would receive such an offer and leave the organization.
At the risk of jumping too far ahead, who would replace Hale if the Blue Jays hire him?
Showalter figures to keep John Russell in the dugout, rather than returning him to the third base coaching box. He’s a huge supporter of Norfolk manager Ron Johnson, who could emerge as a leading candidate.
It’s important for the coach to have experience at third base. Showalter doesn’t want to experiment. That’s the reason why Mike Bordick didn’t get the job last winter, and why the Orioles didn’t move first base coach Wayne Kirby across the diamond.
Shameless plug alert: I’m joining Rob Long for “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” from 5-7 p.m. tonight on MASN.
Note: The Twins released their spring training schedule, and it includes five games against the Orioles.
Feb. 23: Twins at Orioles
Feb. 28: Orioles at Twins (Fort Myers)
March 13: Orioles at Twins (Fort Myers)
March 17: Twins at Orioles
March 26: Orioles at Twins (Fort Myers)