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Topic: robert andino; raul ibanez; jason bay; casper wells

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January 3, 2013 at 10:57 AM

The value of Robert Andino to the Mariners

Mariners infielder Robert Andino can play third base as well as shortstop and second, allowing the team to carry only one infield backup if needed. Photo Credit: AP

ADDITIONAL NOTE (1:10 P.M.): The Mariners have signed first baseman Mike Jacobs to a minor league deal, giving them more Class AAA depth at the position for now. Larry Stone has more details over on his blog.

There has been considerable, justifiable angst expressed in the Mariners blogosphere — most recently this morning — about what the signings of Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay mean for the future of Casper Wells. I agree that Wells is not an outfielder the team just wants to jettison, since he’s out of options, he cost you Doug Fister to get him (in part) and he has value in being able to play multiple outfield positions as a young backup.

First off, Ibanez has made the team already since he’s guaranteed $2.75 million. This is more of a contest between Bay and Wells, who both are right-handed hitters. Bay is only guaranteed $500,000, so it’s still possible he gets cut in spring training and all this angst over Wells proves moot. The Mariners are not about to lose Wells for nothing and since he’s out of minor league options, he is going to make the team this spring barring a trade or a total disaster.

So, what gives with the Bay signing? Why would the Mariners sign him in the first place, then bet on him to fall flat so they can cut him in spring training? Well, they didn’t do that.

There is a way for the Mariners to keep both Bay and Wells on the same team and that’s by starting off the season with five outfielders. That’s right, instead of carrying one extra outfielder and two backup infielders, the Mariners would go with two surplus outfielders and just one backup infielder.

And the reason they can do that is a guy named Robert Andino.

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