Robert Andino, shortstop
Could the Orioles have made him the regular shortstop, rather than trading for J.J. Hardy?
They could, but it probably wouldn’t have been a good idea. The Alex Gonzalez family of shortstops is defined by (1) offensive contributions driven by power, with very marginal strikeout-to-walk ratios and on-base percentages; (2) reasonably good defensive shortstop play, with strong arms but a tendency to commit errors; (3) not a lot of speed. This applies to both Toronto Alex Gonzalez and Florida Alex Gonzalez, and they are the two best players of this type I can think of, hence the name.
Robert Andino is clearly in the Alex Gonzalez family of shortstops, but he’s not nearly as good as the Alex Gonzalezes. He’s closer in ability to two 1980′s shortstops, Todd Cruz and Andres Thomas. Cruz and Thomas could have a batting average upside around .250, and if they could hit .250, their .305 OBP, power, and defensive contributions would keep them in the lineup. But their downside would be a .200 batting average, which would lower their on-base percentage to an unacceptable .275 or so. At that level, their errors became less tolerable, and they almost immediately washed out of the majors after that first off-season.
That’s Andino. If he would hit .250, he’d stay in the lineup. As soon as he hit .210, he’d be gone.
Is he a viable bench player?
No. He’s not a good enough offensive player to be used as a pinch-hitter, and his error-prone-ness on defense make him a poor risk as a replacement. In general, you don’t want players on your bench who can lose you games. Andino is likely to commit costly errors that will cost you games.