In a move that completes the Jesus Montero demotion and the Jesus Sucre promotion, the Mariners have DFA’d Robert Andino and are calling up Carlos Triunfel.
Triunfel has played fairly well this year in Tacoma, post a .300/.351/.476 slash line, but the Mariners had to make this move because Sucre wasn’t on the 40 man roster, so this move was less about upgrading over Andino with Triunfel than it was about finding a way to replace Montero with the next guy in line while damaging the team’s future the least with the corresponding move.
Of course, Triunfel used to be a top prospect, and he’s still only in his age 23 season, but he’s not a shortstop long-term in the opinions of most talent evaluators. His arm and athleticism will play basically anywhere else on the diamond save for center field and catcher, but his bat will have to play at one of those positions for him to have a future as a starter.
The glimpses of power we’ve seen from Triunfel this year have been promising, as he hit for the cycle earlier in the season, and his .176 ISO is the highest of his minor league career. It comes with the normal PCL and New-Cheney-Stadium caveats, of course, but he’s got average power as it relates to the PCL according to Statcorner.
It’s hard to imagine Triunfel being a substantial downgrade from Andino, who is basically a bad platoon partner for Kyle Seager and Dustin Ackley, and a guy that was supposed to take over for Brendan Ryan (or something like that). Triunfel will probably hit lefties pretty well, and considering that Seager, Ackley, and Brad Miller are all left-handed, and Nick Franklin is a switch hitter who blows at hitting right-handed, a lefty-only-masher utility-infielder who is cheap right now and cheap for a while could have a place on this team for a couple years.
Any illusions that Triunfel will somehow take over for Brendan Ryan on the regular are probably just that – illusions.
The move to bring up Triunfel instead of Franklin is ultimately probably the right one. Franklin wasn’t good at Triple A last year, and while he’s been good this year he’s still very young, and still has some things to work out in his game.
As I wrote over at Prospect Insider last month, if the team is going to bring Franklin up the idea scenario would be for him to take a starting spot upon arrival, and not have to give it up until he “Monteros” his way out of it, or physically grows out of it. If that position is shortstop the team will need to clear space for him, because they have the league’s best defensive shortstop on the roster right now. If that position is second or third base, the organization has some shuffling and re-evaluation to do as it relates to their young core.
Andino is unlikely to garner much trade interest unless the Mariners pay basically his entire salary and they are willing to trade him for a player not on another team’s 40 man roster.
So that’s that. The Robert Andino era is likely over. He made sense to bring in. He made less sense to sign to a contract worth $1.6 million for a year. He made sense to get rid of if Triunfel was his replacement.