May 24, 2013 at 3:13 PM
Bizarre day ends with Robert Andino DFA from Mariners
ADDITIONAL NOTE: If you missed last night’s edition of The Geoff Baker Show on Sports Radio KJR, the first hour is posted above. The final 30 minutes is below.
Well, this sure wasn’t how the Mariners expected this day to go. The day began with the Mariners planning to take a minor leaguer off the 40-man roster in order to clear a spot for catcher Jesus Sucre. Instead, it has ended with Robert Andino being designated for assignment to free that spot as the result, it appears, of a news leak.
When I spoke to GM Jack Zduriencik moments ago, he said he’d been mulling over whether to call up Carlos Triunfel from Class AAA for a while now. After thinking it over last night and again early this morning, he said, he met with his senior officials and they decided late morning to make a move.
Here’s the thing, though: Dave Cameron of FanGraphs/USS Mariner reported on his Twitter account that Andino had been placed on outright waivers and that he’d be freeing up the Sucre roster spot. But if that were true (and no one has denied it) and Andino had indeed been placed on waivers this morning, the team would have to wait 48 hours for him to clear or be claimed for that roster spot to be freed.
So, under that plan, there was no way the roster spot could be used for Sucre. And as I’ve said, the plan was to take a minor leaguer off the roster as of this morning.
So, what changed? Because the Mariners just designated Andino for assignment, which makes his roster spot immediately available.
Well, what just transpired is either some really poor timing and planning by the Mariners, who had all day yesterday to decide on a DFA move, or could have held Triunfel up at the airport if they were hotly debating a move this morning. Or else, they were forced into the DFA move — rather than the straightforward waiver outright move — by the news leak Cameron put out.
After all, the Mariners allowed Triunfel to board a plane to Reno with the Tacoma team this morning. It is not usual to allow a guy to do that, then turn around and have him fly back to Seattle that same day. Not unless there is some unforseen injury or something else unexpected that happens. That kind of move is a risky one to make if just part of routine planning, or a change of heart, because there is always the chance of travel delays or something else.
What really looks to have happened is that Andino was placed on waivers today — Zduriencik wouldn’t confirm that, but did say that nothing procedurally had been done with him prior to today — and the team was prepared to wait the 48 hours and free the roster spot for Sucre with a minor leaguer.
Once news of the waiver move leaked, the Mariners knew they would be faced with the prospect of having a player dressing inside the clubhouse and possibly playing in tonight’s game knowing that he’d be off the team in another 48 hours. That’s not good. This is why waiver stuff is kept confidential. I’m not blaming Cameron for anything, he’s just doing his job. But there was no way the Mariners could let Andino dress for tonight’s game if he knew he was Dead Man Walking.
Hence, the late DFA move today and Triunfel having to turn around and fly back to Seattle the same day he flew to Reno.
Look, I don’t expect Zduriencik to say he was forced into a DFA move based on a news leak. But I also have confidence that his front office usually handles things a little smoother than this for it all to have been part of some master plan. What happened today is hardly routine.
In any event, the Mariners will now be forced to trade, outright or release Andino in the next 10 days. The only difference now is the hurried way they’re pressing Triunfel into action after what will amount to a day of back-and-forth plane travel. Good thing Reno isn’t all that far.
As for the move itself, Zduriencik said it has more to do with Triunfel being ready for the bigs than Andino flopping in his stint here.
“You get to a place where Triunfel, in our estimation, needed some time and that a little more seasoning would help him,” Zduriencik said. “Now, having seen him play and listened and read all the reports on him, we feel now is a good time. This had a little more to do with us thinking about the big picture.”
Right now, the immediate picture sees the Texas Rangers in town for three days. The Mariners have to figure out how to beat them at least once or twice, or this season could quickly get out of hand and then all this talk aout DFA versus the waiver wire will be quickly replaced by how much longer Zduriencik and company have left.