Not long ago the Mariners benched Brendan Ryan for Robert Andino. Not realizing, it seemed, that while neither of then could hit their way out of a wet paper bag, at least Ryan could flash some serious leather. Someone finally figured that out, however: Andino has been designated for assignment.
Andino was hitting .184/.253/.237 in 85 plate appearances to Ryan’s .191/.264/.236. Given that Andino can play short, second, third and the outfield if need be, there’s still a chance he latches on someplace else as a super sub, however. Depending on your definition of super.
Our own D.J. Short passes along this amazing stat:
Mariners shortstops have combined to hit .121 with a .318 OPS this season. National League pitchers have combined to hit .124 with a .323 OPS this season.
So through one-fourth of the season Seattle’s shortstops have been out-hit by pitchers. Think about that.
Brendan Ryan has started 30 times at shortstop, with Robert Andino taking the other 10 starts. Ryan has a great glove, but he’s been one of the worst hitters in baseball for a while now, and Andino has a .611 career OPS.
Meanwhile, shortstop prospect Nick Franklin is hitting .339 with four homers, eight doubles, and a .982 OPS in 30 games at Triple-A. He’d be a downgrade defensively and in fact has been splitting time between shortstop and second base this season, but Franklin ranked among Baseball America‘s top 100 prospects coming into the year and … well, he might at least out-hit a bunch of pitchers.
Brendan Ryan is a great defensive shortstop, but he’s hitting .143 this season after hitting .194 last year and the Mariners have decided to bench him.
Greg Johns of MLB.com reports that Robert Andino will take over as the starting shortstop, with Ryan shifting into a utility man role. Of course, Andino is hitting just .163 this season and is a career .233 hitter with a .615 OPS that’s actually lower than Ryan’s career .626 mark.
Andino also hasn’t played shortstop regularly in a while, starting more than 25 games there for the last time back in 2009, and will almost surely be a sizable downgrade from Ryan. Seattle has a lot bigger problems offensively than which light-hitting shortstop plays most, but manager Eric Wedge obviously feels like he has to do something.