ORIOLES CONTINUE FAVORITE TEAM TRADE STATUS WITH MARINERS, ANDINO LATEST TO HEAD TO GREAT NORTHWEST.

Following a great 93-win season in 2012, the Orioles front office has begun to tweak the team and today announced they have traded second baseman Robert Andino, a favorite of manager Buck Showalter during the last several years, to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday in exchange for outfielder Trayvon Robinson.

This move, coupled with the last month’s announcement that they would not extend an $11 million option to first basemen Mark Reynolds, ensures the Birds are rebuilding the right side of the infield for the 2013 season and beyond. Robinson batted .215 for Seattle during 90 games played in 2011 and 2012. At 25, Robinson has spent eight seasons in the minors and the Dodgers originally drafted him in 2005 during the 10th round.

Andino, now 28, played significant time at second during the last two seasons as the Orioles succeeded in dealing with the loss of former leadoff hitter Brian Roberts, who had been sidelined with concussions and other injuries. Andino hit .239 during four total years with the Birds, with 16 homers and 80 RBIs.

Andino will never be forgotten for his 2011 season-ending RBI that helped the O's beat the Red Sox, thus eliminating Boston from playoff contention. A loss that seemed to signify teams moving in the opposite directions for the 2012 season.

Andino’s departure seemed inevitable following the acquisition of Alexi Casilla off waivers early in November. In addition to the Andino move Tuesday, the Orioles selected the contracts of Jonathan Schoop, a rising name in the organization, and Mike Belfiore.

Schoop was the 2011 organization Player of the Year and spent 2012 with the Double-A Baysox.

The Orioles acquired Belfiore from the Diamondbacks in May as a player in the deal that sent Josh Bell to Arizona. He had a 2.85 ERA during 28 relief appearances with Bowie this season. Oliver Drake, a reliever, was sent to Triple-A Norfolk today after spending an injury-shortened season in Bowie.

NO MANAGER OF THE YEAR AWARD FOR BUCK:

Oakland's Bob Melvin won the American League Manager of the Year award from the Baseball Writers' Association of America when the award was announced back on Nov 13. He beat Orioles skipper Buck Showalter and Chicago's Robin Ventura for the honor.

Melvin led his team to an A.L West crown on the season’s final day after trailing the Texas Rangers by 13 games on July 1. The former Orioles catcher (1989-91) guided his A’s to 94 victories, one more than Buck’s O’s. Had Showalter won, it would have been the second postseason honor for him. Showalter did win The Sporting News AL honor.

Showalter took over for the Birds during the last two months of the 2010 season and helped the Orioles end a 14-year streak of losing seasons in 2012. During his time as bench boss in Baltimore, Showalter has compiled an impressive 196-185 mark.

The Orioles produced one of the more remarkable turnarounds for a major league team, winning 24 more games than they did in 2011. Melvin also did an outstanding job with the Athletics, who lost several top-flight pitchers, including their ace, Bartolo Colon for using performance-enhancing drugs. This was a coin flip award and fans of the game should be satisfied with the outcome.

Former Orioles skipper Davey Johnson was named National League Manager of the Year after guiding the Nationals to the major's best regular-season record.

ORIOLES PROVE TO BE GOLDEN:

The Orioles captured three Gold Gloves awards this off-season. Shortstop J.J. Hardy won his first Gold Glove after having a 99.2 percent fielding percentage. Hardy's first career Gold Glove comes after a season during which he led American League shortstops in putouts (244), assists (529), range factor per game (4.89), defensive wins above replacement (2.8) and total zone runs (21).

Very deserving of the award, Hardy made just six errors in 779 chances at the position, and his fielding percentage was the highest mark by an AL shortstop since Mike Bordick had a 99.8 percent fielding percentage for the Orioles in 2002.

This season marks the second straight year Hardy has led the league in fielding percentage. His 529 assists were the most by an American League shortstop since Cal Ripken Jr. had 531 for the Orioles in 1989, and he is the fourth Oriole shortstop to win the award.

Adam Jones won his second career Gold Glove Award, but not without a little controversy around the baseball world. Jones led A.L. center fielders in putouts with 439, ranking second in range factor per game (2.75) and third in assists (seven).

Jones' victory was a surprise given his number of errors and the fact that Angels rookie phenom Mike Trout was expected to run away with the honor. Trout also did not win the MVP award, which went to the Detroit Tigers Miguel Cabrera. It is understandable that pundits are upset with choosing Jones over Trout for the Gold Glove but the Sabermetrics geeks need to get over themselves about the MVP going to Cabrera

Cabrera became the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown and he did it because he did not disappear down the stretch like a certain rookie we are talking about. This was the second time in the past three seasons that Jones led the league in putouts at his position. He is one of three Orioles outfielders who have won Gold Glove Awards.

Catcher Matt Wieters earned his second consecutive Gold Glove for American League catchers. He led the AL in putouts (994) and caught stealing percentage (38.6 percent), while ranking second in runners caught stealing (32) and range factor per game (7.92). His 994 putouts were the third most in AL history for a catcher. Wieters is the only Orioles catcher to receive a Gold Glove Award.

Sixteen different Orioles players have earned 64 total Gold Gloves since the award was created in 1957, second most in the American League.

REYNOLDS AND O’S HAVE OPTIONS BUT NOT WITH EACH OTHER AT THIS POINT:

One of the first moves General Manager Dan Duquette made this off-season does not come as a surprise to Orioles fans. As expected, the Baltimore Orioles have declined the 2013 option on first baseman Mark Reynolds, which would have been $11 million.

Reynolds remains arbitration eligible and comes off another season in which he failed to impress on a consistent basis. After struggling badly at third base, Reynolds moved to first, where his defensive play improved. Reynolds batted a paltry .221 with 23 home runs and 69 RBIs in 2012. Reynolds did hit 17 of his 23 homeruns vs. A.L East foes with 13 coming against the Yankees and Red Sox. However, Reynolds batted just .218 from the seventh inning on and failed to provide clutch hitting when it mattered most.  The Orioles could bring him back if Reynolds lowers his pay demands. 

The Birds picked up the option on right-handed reliever Luis Ayala, who at 34 went 5-5 with a 2.64 ERA in 66 appearances. The Orioles also selected the contract of Zach Clark, who pitched at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Clark, 29, has been in the Birds' system since 2006. He pitched on the Double- and Triple-A levels last season, going 15-7 with a 2.79 ERA. Following these moves, the Orioles have 36 players on the 40-man roster.

FREE AGENCY WATCH:

According to the Baltimore Sun on Nov. 13, The Orioles have interest in free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes an industry source has confirmed.

Gomes' name is one of many the Orioles are considering early in the free agency market, but the Orioles could use an additional bat with a history of success against left-handed pitching well for their DH spot. Other DH options like Chris Davis and Wilson Betemit were primarily used against right-handed pitching last season.

Gomes put up a .299/.413/.561 line against left-handed pitching with 11 homers and 26 RBIs in 196 plate appearances last season. He is a career .284/.382/.512 hitter against left-handed pitching.

Gomes is not necessarily known for his glove, but he could also be a situational fit in left field. He could also possibly transition to first base. The latest report has the number of years as a sticking point in any negotiation. Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports (on Twitter). Gomes seeks a multiyear deal, according to Encina. 

Gomes would be an interesting addition to the Birds clubhouse. Known as a free spirit that likes to mix it up, Gomes would give the Orioles a little personality. O's fans may best remember Gomes from his days with the Tampa Bay Rays and you may also recall his mohawk haircuts.

According to MLB Trade Rumors,The Rangers, Brewers, Phillies, Orioles, Braves and Red Sox are among the teams that appear to have at least some interest in Josh Hamilton, the top position player available in free agency this year. The Mariners are also eyeing Hamilton, though GM Jack Zduriencik downplayed the chances of such a large-scale deal. Here is the latest on Hamilton.

The Phillies appear to have Hamilton as a fallback option in case they don’t sign B.J. Upton or Michael Bourn, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. One Orioles person has suggested to Heyman that Hamilton would be a good fit in Baltimore, but another person downplayed Baltimore’s interest. While the Brewers and Mariners have some interest, it would be challenging for those clubs to afford Hamilton. Heyman suggests the market for Hamilton could remain murky for a while and become a “bona fide mystery market.”

Brittany Ghiroli who covers the Orioles for MLB.com Tweeted the following today “Orioles telling teams they're priority in the trade market is for 1B, DH & LF. Duquette said there are several clubs that match up with them”

THIS WEEK IN ORIOLES HISTORY:

Nov.19, 1991: "The whole season, it just seemed like I couldn't do anything wrong," Cal Ripken Jr. says in winning his second American League Most Valuable Player Award. Ripken (34 home runs, 114 RBIs, .323 batting average) edges slugger Cecil Fielder of the second-place Detroit Tigers. Says Fielder: "I've lost to somebody who played on a sixth-place team. It's a joke, as far as I'm concerned."

Nov. 21, 1977: Eddie Murray, 21, the Orioles' designated hitter and first baseman, takes AL Rookie of the Year honors after a stellar season in which he batted .283 with 27 home runs. Murray is the fourth Oriole to win the award, following Ron Hansen (1960), Curt Blefary (1965) and Al Bumbry (1973).

Nov. 18, 1954: The Orioles and New York Yankees complete a 17-player trade that brings catcher Gus Triandos, shortstop Willy Miranda and outfielder Gene Woodling to Baltimore. New York gets pitchers Don Larsen, who will throw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series, and "Bullet" Bob Turley, a favorite of Orioles fans who will win a Cy Young Award with the Yanks.