Gone, Baby, Gone
Ever since the home run derby in Kansas City, my 3 year old has been a Mark Trumbo fan. He spots the number 44 in addresses, phone numbers, even on jerseys of other players, in other sports. "44!" he yells, "Mark Trumbo!". So please understand that it is with a heavy heart I write these words. The time has come for me to explain the business of baseball to my young man; as tough as that may be. After all, we just learned how to count.....all the way up to 44.
Why trade Mark Trumbo?
It's really as simple as the age old adage states, "buy low and sell high". Something the Angels have had a tough time doing for many years. (i.e. Peter Bourjos, Ervin Santana, Jean Segura, etc.) After 95 home runs the past three seasons, in a pitcher friendly ballpark no less, Trumbo has cemented himself as one of the game's premier power hitters. His moon shots are a sight to see. But the Halos are not short on power at the moment, or in the future for that matter. Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton are solid (debatable) 30 HR hitters and David Freese and Kole Calhoun could easily hit 20 HR themselves. More importantly, all these guys get on base for the hitters behind them. This is something Mark has struggled with, especially in 2013. This is also something many teams can and will over look when making offers for him. The Angels also have a fine RH power hitting first baseman (CJ Cron, who recently torched the Arizona Fall League) set to arrive in Anaheim in 2014 or 2015. This is where finances really come into play. Trumbo will have his first year arbitration in 2014 and will probably make over $20M the next three seasons. CJ Cron will make less than $1.5M during that time. Obviously, it is very possible Cron will not display the same trademark power as Trumbo any time soon, but, I am willing to bet he hits the gaps and gets on base with more frequency than Mark has.
Why would a team want Mark Trumbo?
As I stated before, Trumbo has trouble getting on base with regularity. It has been widely discussed that this may get in the way of receiving top flight pitching in return. In early November, I bought into this idea, primarily because I didn't want to see Mark go. I focused my attention on the possible destinations of Howie Kendrick and his $8M AAV. But in the last month or so, those destinations have dwindled and a power shortage has quickly emerged in the free agent market. With the exception of Nelson Cruz (six years older than Trumbo and fresh off PED suspension) and Corey Hart (DNP in 2013), pure power hardly exists. In my opinion, power at Trumbo's level is more scarce than starting pitching at this point. When you factor in that Nelson Cruz is looking for (and Mike Napoli received) over $15M per year, it would appear a team can save themselves as much as $25M, over the next three seasons, if they trade for Trumbo. On the defensive side, not Mark's strong suit, Trumbo does offer flexibility due to the fact he can play first and corner outfield. This works well with National League baseball and late inning strategy.
Are there very many teams interested?
This is where things start to get exciting for the Angels. Colorado, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Arizona, San Francisco, Boston, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Kansas City (if they trade Butler), Tampa Bay, San Diego and the New York Mets have all been rumored to be interested in Trumbo. That is over one third of Major League Baseball. Not to mention the fact he makes sense for Seattle, Texas and Houston, who are in our division and don't stand a chance. At this point, I ask you to visualize the floor of the NYSE during a major rally. His trade stock is rising folks. The demand for power is real. The shortage of power is real. Mark Trumbo is a very hot commodity heading into this week's Winter Meetings in Orlando.
What can we get in return?
I am sure you have heard all these rumors so far but let us review. About a month ago, there was a trade that was, then wasn't, returning Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer for Trumbo. The Rockies were pretty serious recently and it was thought a third team with pitching available (Kansas City or Seattle) might be involved. He's even been discussed as the centerpiece of a package for David Price. Angel fans have been pulling there hair out and cursing Jerry Dipoto since the GM meetings as the AL west has been by far the most active in offseason movement. But by Jerry taking a position of patience, what has actually happened, is the demand for power has risen dramatically, the supply of power has plummeted, and the price of power (cue Ben Stein voice, "Anyone? Anyone?") has skyrocketed. I would not be the least bit surprised, at this stage, to see a major league pitcher AND prospect returned for Mark. Especially from pitching rich ball clubs like Pittsburgh, Arizona or Tampa Bay. Obviously, the better the major leaguer, the lesser the prospect. So rejoice Halo fans, IF our beloved Mark Trumbo leaves us, I have faith that Jerry played this market correctly. Which tandem of starting pitchers would you like to see?
Mark Trumbo was traded for two young cost controlled left handed pitchers as predicted two days before trade, right here.