Robert Andino Rumors
The Rays and Red Sox begin a four-game set at Fenway Park tonight that could very well determine the AL Wild Card. Here are some items about both clubs, plus the rest of the AL East...
- Trades and middling draft results have robbed the Red Sox of pitching depth, opines ESPN's Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required). With more good arms in the system, Bowden argues that Boston could have had reinforcements ready to step in when Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz hit the DL, or could've used those young prospects to acquire a more reliable starter than Erik Bedard.
- The Blue Jays will at least check in on Jonathan Papelbon this winter, writes MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm, though Chisholm notes that it isn't Alex Anthopoulos' style to sign relievers to expensive, multiyear contracts. Chisholm also looks at Frank Francisco and Adam Loewen's respective futures in Toronto as part of the mailbag piece -- Chisholm thinks Francisco will leave, while Loewen is out of options and will probably only have a spot on the team if the Jays cut Mark Teahen.
- Mariano Rivera is a Yankees legend today, but Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York looks at how 20 years ago, the Sandman wasn't even the most regarded prospect in his own family. "If you turn the clock back and you ask who was the best Rivera in our system, it was Ruben," says Brian Cashman. "Mariano was just known as Ruben’s cousin.''
- Writing for USA Today, Patrick DiCaprio looks at how Orioles reliever Jim Johnson fits the prototype of a closer. Johnson could very well finish games next season given that Baltimore seems to have lost patience with Kevin Gregg, though we've also heard that the O's have explored converting Johnson to a starter. You can keep track of Baltimore's late-game situation all winter long at MLBTR's sister site, Closer News.
- Robert Andino has finally gotten the chance to show he belongs in the Majors, writes Brittany Ghiroli for MLB.com. The versatile infielder has definitely earned a roster spot with the Orioles for next year.
- The Rays' somewhat surprising performance in 2011 makes it clear that they will be contenders again in 2012 and possibly for years to come, writes Rob Neyer.
The latest on the Orioles, who start their season Friday evening in St. Petersburg...
- Top prospect Zach Britton was optioned to Triple-A, as expected. He's likely to be up by the end of April, as the Orioles look to ensure they control the Scott Boras client through 2017 instead of '16. MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli discussed the situation with Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, who's been through it. Said Longoria, "It's just understanding the politics of the game."
- The Orioles made the curious decision to cut veteran southpaw Mark Hendrickson yesterday, and the 36-year-old must decide by tomorrow whether to opt out or head to Triple-A. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun talked to Hendrickson, who would like to keep his family in Pennsylvania. The Phillies seem like a decent fit.
- Out of options shortstop Robert Andino made the team, notes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link).
Earlier this month we heard that the Padres were looking for a utility player for their bench, and it appears they've turned their attention to Alberto Gonzalez and Robert Andino. MASNsports.com's Phil Wood reports that San Diego has been "looking hard" at the Nationals' utility infielder, while MLB.com's Corey Brock says Andino is on the radar as well (Twitter link). Both players are out of options.
Gonzalez, 28 in April, has spent the last two full years and part of a third in the nation's capitol, hitting .266/.302/.350 overall. He has plenty of experience at second, third, and short, and has also dabbled at first base and in right field. The Padres currently have Jarrett Hoffpauir, Kevin Frandsen, and Jesus Guzman in camp competing for the utility infielder's job, and the Nats have depth at the position with Jerry Hairston Jr. and Alex Cora.
Andino, 27 in April, is a .226/.275/.318 career hitting in 440 plate appearances, most of which have come with the Orioles. The vast majority of his playing time has come at short, though he's also seen time at second, third, left, and center fields. Baltimore has Cesar Izturis, Nick Green, and Brendan Harris on their utility infielder depth chart as well.
WEDNESDAY, 1:09pm: Andino has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple A Norfolk, according to an Orioles press release. MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli has comments from Andino on the situation.
The recent acquisition of Julio Lugo from the Cardinals made the soon-to-be 26-year-old expendable. Baltimore GM Andy MacPhail says that the roster, barring injury, is now set, according to MLB.com's Britt Ghiroli.
In 215 plate appearances for the O's last season, Andino hit .222/.274/.288 with 2 HRs. However, he played an above-average shortstop, posting a UZR/150 of 6.3.
Robert Andino is out of options and the Orioles just added Julio Lugo, so as MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli reports, Andino's future with the Orioles is anything but certain. The Orioles aren't likely to carry two middle infield backups, but they would have to pass Andino through waivers before sending the 25-year-old to the minors. The O's have two days to set their Opening Day roster and that makes Andino a trade candidate. President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail told Ghiroli that the club is considering a number of options.
"We will see how that plays out," MacPhail said. "We still have some moving pieces, and we will see how that shakes out here in the next week."
A week ago, the Rangers would have seemed like a logical fit for Andino, who has experience around the infield. The Rangers have since added Andres Blanco, who promptly won the team's utility infield job. At this point, the Rangers' interest in Andino presumably depends in part on the team's confidence that Ian Kinsler's sprained ankle will soon heal.
4:21pm: Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel has Larry Beinfest's thoughts on the Marlins' acquisitions today. Berardino also says Dallas McPherson "might wind up with the Yankees."
11:54am: Interesting swap today: the Marlins acquired pitcher Hayden Penn from the Orioles for shortstop Robert Andino. Both players are out of options.
Penn, 24, wasn't able to crack the Orioles' weak rotation. Perhaps he can recover the promise he had back in '05 and '06 with a fresh start.
Andino, 25 later this month, hit .287/.356/.497 in his second attempt at Triple A. He was blocked by Hanley Ramirez in Florida, but he plays strong defense and may be able to chip away at Cesar Izturis' playing time in Baltimore. Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun says it looks like Chris Gomez will be released now. Schmuck also has Andy MacPhail's explanation of the deal.
10:39pm: Frisaro says the Marlins released McPherson, as they were unable to find a trade.
10:36am: Joe Frisaro of MLB.com has the latest on the Marlins.
- Out of options Marlins shortstop Robert Andino remains on the Pirates' radar; the interest dates back to at least the Winter Meetings. Frisaro wonders if the idea of an Andino-Brian Bixler swap could be reignited. However, with Andino being out of options and Bixler raising his profile during Spring Training, that seems unlikely. My own speculation - the San Diego would be a good destination for Andino.
- Frisaro says the Marlins appear to be shopping third baseman Dallas McPherson, who is also out of options. McPherson, 28, hit .275/.379/.618 with 42 home runs in 448 at-bats last year at Triple A. Projection systems remain unimpressed, but I'd like to see what he could do in Minute Maid Park.
- The Marlins are eyeing lefty relief help, with Frisaro naming Pittsburgh's Sean Burnett and free agent Ron Villone as possibilities.
4:53pm: According to John Perrotto of Pirates Report, the Pirates are also interested in Niemann. He says the Bucs also remain interested in Robert Andino and Jeff Baker.
Additionally, Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse says the Rockies have jumped in on Hammel.
11:16am: Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote Saturday regarding the Padres' interest in Rays pitcher Jeff Niemann:
In return, the defending American League champions have inquired about Padres prospects Simon Castro, Wynn Pelzer, Juedy Valdez and Nick Schmidt. The Padres have deemed the price too high. Niemann is out of minor league options, reducing the Rays' trade leverage.
Out of those four Baseball America likes righty Castro the most, ranking him 14th among Padres prospects. Pitchers Pelzer (16) and Schmidt (21) also make their top 30.
Niemann will make a minor league start today, perhaps his last chance to win the fifth starter job. The decision will probably be made today; Jason Hammel appears to be the favorite. UPDATE: Niemann tossed six scoreless innings.
Links for Thursday...
- The Nationals remain interested in Duaner Sanchez, says Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan talked to Mark Prior.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post heard Manny Ramirez and Scott Boras consider the contract with the Dodgers a one-year deal with a safety net. Sherman wonders if the Yankees and/or Mets could get involved depending on how Manny's 2009 season plays out.
- Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon commented about Manny to Chris Jones in the April issue of Esquire. It's a good article and there's a lot more to it than the Manny comments.
- Free agent catcher Ivan Rodriguez is working out at first base, according to Will Gonzalez of MLB.com.
- The Padres have the third pick in the June draft. Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune asks whether they'll finally take a player with big upside.
- Jake Peavy's agent Barry Axelrod seems to be writing off the Padres, in comments to Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune: "It's tough with the Padres' situation. They are not very good and it looks like it is going to be another long year for them."
- Marlins shortstop Robert Andino is out of options, so Mike Phillips of the Miami Herald says this is his audition.
- ESPN's Buster Olney says Mark Mulder's audition is drawing closer and he's throwing well. Olney also says Luis Gonzalez is waiting by the phone. For a look at the other remaining free agents, click here.