20 November 2012

Orioles Acquire Trayvon Robinson for Robert Andino

Given Robert Andino's down 2012, I suggested the Orioles might want to look elsewhere for a starting second baseman for 2013 if they wanted to be competitive again. When the O's picked up Alexi Casilla, the writing was kind of on the wall Andino wasn't going to be getting a starting job with the team next season. And now, as it turns it, he won't be getting any kind of job at all with the Birds, as he's been traded to the Seattle Mariners for outfielder Trayvon Robinson.

First a quick look at the Andino to Casilla swap:

Andino career: .235/.296/.323, 67 wRC+, average-ish UZR at 2B/3B/SS
Casilla career: .250/.305/.334, 74 wRC+, average-ish UZR at 2B, plus (in few innings) at SS

Both guys hit better in 2011 than 2012, with Casilla slightly better in both years. He's walked less than Andino in his career (7.7% to 6.9%), but also makes more contact and strikes out less often (12.8% to 20.4%). Power numbers are similar (.088 ISO to .084 ISO), though Andino does it slightly more with homers and a little less with doubles. Casilla's better on the basepaths, and is a switch-hitter with relatively small platoon splits (especially when regressed) which makes him a more attractive starter than the right-handed Andino. The hope is probably that Casilla - if he is the team's primary second baseman - can be as valuable as Andino was in 2011 (around average), with less "Andino in 2012" type down-side (below replacement level).

Now to the trade:

Trayvon Robinson is a 25 years old switch-hitting outfielder. In the last two years for Seattle he's accumulated 319 Major League plate appearance with a .217/.272/.330 batting line. He improved somewhat from 2011 to 2012, bumping his walk rate up from 5% to over 8% and dropping the K's from 39% (!) to 26%. Back in 2011 with the Dodgers organization, he hit .293/.375/.563 with 26 home runs in Triple-A, though that took place for Albuquerque. Robinson's generally not shown that type of power and the whiffs are clearly of some concern, but his patience at the plate looks like it's improved since the lower levels of the minors.

Robinson does bring some speed (169 steals at a 70% clip in the minors) and (supposedly) defense to the table, which at least makes him attractive as a fourth outfielder. And, though he's out of options like Robert Andino, he has more years of team control left and is going to be cheaper - Andino made $1.3 M in his first arbitration year in 2012, and would probably be closer to $2 M for 2013.

Quick scouting report from Jon: He is a four tool guy whose tools simply have not been able to play at the MLB level. Robinson adds to team speed, but his plus speed that is not quite effectively used on the basepaths. He's overly aggressive at the plate and can be fooled by offspeed offerings, and he is also kind of a platoon guy even though he's a switch hitter. If you want to force a comp, he's like Xavier Avery with a little more power. (Which all more or less lines up with the stats above)

The Orioles didn't give up much in Andino or probably get much in Robinson, but there's likely more upside with the latter. Can't complain too much about that kind of trade.

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