Is there a bigger question than this for the Orioles this offseason?
Slugger Mark Trumbo remains a free agent, half-way through January, and his market seems to be weakening as the days go by.
As reported yesterday by John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group, the Oakland Athletics no longer seem to be interested in Trumbo, even though they had been tied to him as recent as last week. There’s no new information (that I’m aware of) to report regarding if the Rockies are still eyeing Trumbo, therefore, it may be safe to say the Orioles may be the only team still willing to put a contract back on the table for him.
The Orioles, whom Trumbo rejected a qualifying offer from, may wind up being the best fit for the 2016 home run king. But is it in the Orioles best interest to re-sign him?
They offered Trumbo a three-year, $40MM deal earlier in the offseason and he rejected that in hopes he could land a contract upwards of $80MM. That’s just not going to happen.
For a team needing to improve their outfield defense, they shouldn’t be thinking about Trumbo being their guy for that. That ship has sailed.
Trumbo had a -12.5 UZR/150 last season, coupled with a .967 fielding percentage in 791 innings in the outfield. He made 97.6 percent of routine plays, 35 out-of-zone, and had -11 DRS.
If we’re talking re-signing him to be the primary DH on the team, now that’s something I could get behind. If the idea is to platoon him, and Trey Mancini for the year, I’d still be willing to stand behind that idea also.
Friday morning, I discussed how Trey Mancini would become the Orioles primary DH. Incase you missed it, that equation worked out only if the Orioles didn’t re-sign Mark Trumbo, or Pedro Alvarez, for example.
The O’s could go with a Mancini/Trumbo platoon because last season when facing left-handers, Mark Trumbo hit .173/.223/.385 with 10 HR’s in 166 plate appearances. Down in Norfolk last season, Mancini hit .286/.359/.449 against left-handed pitching, with two home runs, six doubles, and 13 walks.
Another reason this may be the better solution is because Trumbo’s stat line fell off a bit after the All-Star break. In 292 plate appearances, Trumbo hit .214/.284/.470 with 19 home runs, and 11 doubles. Mancini, post All-Star break, hit .262/.329/.374 in 226 plate appearances. He hit three home runs, eight doubles, and three triples, while driving in 24 runs.
Of course, Mancini’s numbers are coming from the minor leagues, however, there’s not enough to go on from Mancini’s short stint with the Orioles last September, so my opinion will be based solely off of his performance in Triple-A, with the Tides.
Here’s an issue the Orioles could run into though. Why would they pay upwards of $30MM, on a multi-year deal, for a player who would be a platoon designated hitter?
Mark Trumbo, while bringing with him the ability to strikeout close to 200 times a season, does give you a career WAR of 9.6, with an oWAR of 11. He now also carries a career .854 OPS at Camden Yards, where he’d play 81 games at.
It’s really a tough call on what to do with Trumbo at this point. If you sign him, you fork out close to $30MM or maybe even a little more, on a two-year deal (I don’t think he gets three unless it’s an option year), just to have him realistically not play against left-handed pitchers. Or in other words, never against Boston, given their left-handed heavy rotation.
If the O’s don’t sign him, and another team does, the Orioles would receive compensation in the form of a draft pick from the team he signed with. That’s the rule with the Qualifying Offer. Given the re-build that inevitably seems to be within a few years, an extra draft pick may not be such a bad idea.
The offense though, wouldn’t have a power hitting designated hitter, and they miss out on possibly 30-to-40 home runs this season, and anywhere in between 80-100 runs driven in. But remember, home runs are great, but if you don’t win a championship, who really cares how many home runs you hit?