Orioles: MacPhail explains trade
Here's Andy MacPhail explaining the rationale for the Hayden Penn/Robert Andino deal and how it came about:
"When it became evident he wasn't going to break with us, we were pretty much looking at exposing him to waivers. ... We didn't think he would clear, so we called clubs that we knew had had an interest over the last couple of years and inquired about him. I happened to be sitting with (Marlins baseball operations chief) Larry Beinfest when Hayden was pitching and he asked about him. So one of the calls we made was to Larry asking if he had interest. He did."
The Orioles had given every indication they might make the defensive sacrifice and use Ryan Freel as the backup shortstop so that they could carry 13 pitchers, but Freel did not look particularly good there this spring and club officials obviously weren't sold on either Chris Gomez or Jolbert Cabrera.
"We’re too thin in the middle infield in terms of who can play defense there,'' MacPhail said. "We really weren’t comfortable with backup shortstops. We know Cesar, like any shortstop, is going to need a couple of days off. I think he played in 130 games last year. You need somebody for those other 30 games. Blake Davis broke a bone in his foot and we have Ryan Freel targeted for different positions. That was an area of need for us."
So, six weeks of talk about a 13-man pitching staff evaporated in a matter of minutes.
"It’s going to really require us to go with 12 pitchers now,'' MacPhail said. "I had been leaning toward 13. You’re not going to be able to be strong everywhere. Where we are now, you really have to pick and choose your area. But if I had the opportunity to get a 24-year-old bona fide shortstop that can play defense, it was really something I can’t pass up. You can look for us to start with 12. As the season progresses, you don’t know what twists and turns are going to take place. But we clearly are going to start with 12 pitchers and 13 position players as a consequence of this trade."