By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
August 23, 2006
No matter what Andy Baldwin accomplishes in his professional baseball career, he can always have “traded for an all-star” on his resume.
The 2001 HRVHS grad was traded to the Seattle Mariners by the Philadelphia Phillies along with another minor league pitcher in exchange for pitcher Jamie Moyer over the weekend.
Baldwin was a shining star in a dismal 2001 season for Hood River Valley in which the team failed to win any league games and finished the season 2-23.
After graduating Baldwin played two seasons at Oregon State before being drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2004 draft.
He has spent the past season with the Single-A Clearwater Thrashers, where he has amassed an 8-8 record with a 4.04 ERA. He was rated the 38th-best prospect in the Phillies organization by Scout.com.
“Its a strange feeling,” Baldwin said. “(Being traded) is not something you really expect.”
The Mariners have assigned Baldwin to the Single-A Inland Empire Sixty Sixers of the California League.
In a free fall after the All-Star break, the Mariners are now looking to build for the future, something that General Manager Bill Bavasi feels they accomplished by acquiring Baldwin.
“Our priority was to acquire young pitching prospects in the deal,” Bavasi said. “We think Andrew fits that mold and we like his size, his arm, and his control,” Bavasi said.
Two players currently on the Mariner’s pitching staff, Mark Lowe and Eric O’Flaherty, started the season at the Single-A level before being promoted to the big league club.
Baldwin grew up a Mariner fan and hopes that he will soon get a chance to show his stuff to the big league team.
“I’m a lot more apt to make it to the major leagues with the Mariners than the Phillies,” Baldwin said.
For now however, Baldwin will have to focus on helping a Sixty-Sixer team that is 2.5 games out of first place in its division. He also becomes the co-leader in wins for the team, tied with lefthander Justin Thomas with eight.
In a press release after the trade, Bavasi touched on the Mariner’s need to acquire young pitching as it continues the rebuilding process.
“We saw this as a good opportunity to acquire two young pitching prospects and to move two other young pitchers into our rotation right now. Jamie has been a great pro in his decade in Seattle, but we are in a position of looking beyond just this season. Making this trade allows us to continue to build the franchise,” Bavasie said.
Baldwin said that he had never been nervous before pitching, but he says he is now. His first start was scheduled for Tuesday as he tries to keep the Sixty Sixers in the hunt for a division title.