The Astros wanted some catching depth in the upper minors, while the Nationals looked to add some middle-infield help at the same level. So the teams hooked up for a small trade on Monday, with Houston acquiring Danny Ardoin and Washington picking up Wade Robinson.
The Big Leaguers
Ardoin, 32, saw time in the majors last year with the Rockies and Orioles, hitting .180/.254/.238 with no homers and three RBIs in 40 games and 122 at-bats. He’s a defensive specialist who never has hit for average in the majors or minors, though he has some modest power. After opting for free agency after Baltimore outrighted him in September, he signed a minor league deal with the Nationals in November. He’ll open the season sharing time with Hector Gimenez at Triple-A Round Rock. Ardoin has hit .202/.298/.306 with seven homers and 31 RBIs in 141 big league games.
Robinson, 26, signed as a 12th-round pick out of Louisiana Tech in 2003. As with Ardoin, his speciality is defense. He has arm strength and soft hands, and the ability to play a solid shortstop or second base. He has fringy tools across the board on offense, however, hampering his chances of becoming a big league regular. He played with the three highest teams on the Astros’ minor league ladder in 2006, batting a combined .287/.316/.321 with one homer and 23 RBIs in 85 games. His 14th-inning RBI single won the deciding game of the Double-A Texas League playoffs for Corpus Christi. Robinson is expected to begin 2007 at Double-A Harrisburg.
Nothing major here. Both sides added some minor league insurance but the deal will have little big league significance.