Is It Time For the Angels To Trade Mark Trumbo?

With the non-waiver trade deadline only a week away, and the Angels continuing to perfect their “two steps forward, two steps back” routine, the time has come for Jerry Dipoto to very seriously considering hitting the “sell” button on the 2013 season. He has the players for it. Scott Downs is one of them. Jason Vargas would be another if he hadn’t been sidelined by a blood clot, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be revisited by the trade market in time for the waiver deadline in August. But these are players in the final year of their contract or final year under team control. They would be rentals, and since they aren’t in the upper echelon of talent available on this year’s market.

The Angels do have other trade chips. C.J. Cron has generated interest from some executives, and is blocked by both his own defensive abilities and by players on the Major League roster. Alberto Callaspo has another year left on his contract, but Luis Jimenez is not an everyday third-baseman in my mind, and Kaleb Cowart isn’t ready. Not to mention, Callaspo is not your prototypical third-sacker. Which brings me to the title of this post’s namesake – Mark Trumbo.

Wait, what? Mark Trumbo? You can’t be serious? But oh ho ho, I am serious. Just chill out, sit back, have a wine cooler and hear me out. Then, feel free to flame me later. I’m a big boy, I can fight back.

There are many reasons to keep Mark Trumbo around for the foreseeable future. Hell, there are good reasons for extending Trumbo past the foreseeable future. Reasons that I have argued for in the past. Reasons that I will probably argue for tomorrow. But after watching a 10th inning meltdown that saw the Minnesota Twins of all teams drop seven runs on the Halos, this is where I am at today. It’s not a fun place, I can tell you that. They discontinued the mustard-flavored roast beef last week. We the members of this community are considering a revolt. But I digress.

The thing about the reasons to extend Trumbo is, each of those reasons also can be flipped to make a solid argument for trading the big man. So, instead of just going on and on like I am currently doing about trading Trumbo, I’m going to list the reasons for extending him, and flip them on their head. Please, I ask that you let me finish. Everyone will get their turn to talk and throw rotting tomatoes.

Consistency

Last year, Trumbo had a wOBA of .347, a wRC+ of 123 and an ISO of .222. Per Fangraphs, the wOBA was “above average,” the wRC+ and ISO were “great.” Currently, Mark has a .333 wOBA, a wRC+ of 117 and an ISO of .229. He has become a regular producer in the middle of the Angels lineup. Lock him up, right? Yeah, of course you lock that guy up. Unless of course said guy is forced out of his normal position by a player making another $212MM over the next eight years.

Trumbo can’t change the fact that Albert Pujols isn’t going anywhere. You can’t change the fact that Albert Pujols isn’t going anywhere. Trumbo works as a DH, and can rotate around with both Pujols and Josh Hamilton, but his value can also be cashed in for a couple of solid prospects, or even a solid pitcher who is still pre-arbitration.

Improvement

Here’s where I start kicking myself. Below is a snip from Mark Trumbo’s player page at Fangraphs. The bottom four lines of the snip are sets of projections from both ZiPS and Steamers.

The (R) notates that those are projections for the rest of the season. The (U) is for projections that have been updated from what was projected before the season. If you’ll indulge me, zero in on the walk rate. Trumbo’s current walk rate of 8.9% is 2.8 points higher than it was last season. And we were floored last year by his ability to learn plate discipline. This season, he has continued that progression, and both ZiPS and Steamers expect his walk rate to stay above 8%. It’s not too much of a leap to expect that number to creep above 10% next season.

I have been applauding Trumbo for awhile where his ability to take pitches and draw walks is concerned. He’ll never be a 3TO (Three True Outcomes) player, but he is exponentially more dangerous when he is waiting out pitchers instead of utilizing the education he received from the Vladimir Guerrero School of Hitting Pitches That Bounce. And Since I have noticed, I am sure that other GM’s have noticed as well.

Cost Control

This could also be aptly titled, “Straight Cash, Homey,” but I’m not trying to alienate any of the older GM’s in baseball. Mark Trumbo is making $540,000 this season, and has already generated $10.7MM in value. Next year he will go to arbitration for the first time, and is in line for a hefty raise. A raise that he deserves. And this is yet another reason to not give him up to the highest bidder. Or is it?

Cost controlled players are the most valuable commodity in baseball, what with ever increasing free agent contracts and the like. Granted, arbitration changes the kind of control a team has over a player’s salary, but they still aren’t bidding against 29 other teams for said players services. And if moved, Mark’s new team would have ample time to lock him up to their own extension, by-passing the possible mess that is arbitration, and enjoying years of production from what has turned into a proven slugger.

Fan Favorite

This one is more personal. Mark is not only a “fan favorite,” he’s the local kid that made good. He grew up an Angels fan. He Went to Villa Park High School. His favorite player growing up was Tim Salmon. My favorite player growing up was Tim Salmon. I want Mark to stay in Halo Red forever. But I’m an Angels fan first, and the name on the front is more important than the one on the back. And if moving Mark makes this team better, then so be it. I’m not above rooting for a player who is not an Angel (see Medlen, Kris).

The Angels have another similarly young, similarly inexpensive player in Peter Bourjos, and it is no secret how much interest Bourjos generated in the trade market over the last season and a half. But, aside from being a historically defensive center fielder, having Bourjos in center is good for not only the Angels, but Mike Trout as well. Trout gets to avoid the wear and tear of center field, and we get to see Mike Trout be Mike Trout. And I’m not going to write a “Is it Time to Trade Mike Trout?” post anytime soon.

The focus for most is on the players on the team who’s contracts are expiring. That’s not the wrong focus. There stands a good chance that those players will simply walk at the end of the year, no qualifying offer will be extended, so nothing will be received in return. Trade those players, get value back. That focus however, falls short of where the Angels could make a serious impact on their roster. it’s not a popular idea to trade one of the few young, cost-controlled players on the roster. But, in this instance, it could be the move that most benefits the club as a whole.

Topics: Los Angeles Angels, Mark Trumbo, Trade Deadline

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  • brianc6234

    It’s time for the Angels to trade everyone not named Mike Trout. This team isn’t very good. Rebuild for the future. Too bad there’s no way to trade Pujols and Hamilton. The Angels should see if the Dodgers are interested in Weaver even. I’m sure he’d approve a trade to them. Not any other team. Get a lot of really good prospects and hope next year is better.

  • Double_Up

    They have to rebuild that minor league system, but I think there are better guys than Trumbo to trade. Why can’t Hamilton or Pujols be dealt? I know, contracts, but Wells and other bad contracts were dealt with.

    • mikehllywa

      Yes, Wells and his terrible contract were traded. But, do you remember who he was traded for? Yeah, neither does anyone else. The point is isn’t to simply “restock the farm,” the point is to restock it with talent that could actually impact the big league club.

  • losersnotwelcome

    nope!

    • mikehllywa

      So noted.

    • todogyen

      sounds about right

  • todogyen

    so your saying… trade trumbo, who two seasons ago was just a prospect, and who is now currently producing and leading your mlb team in hr’s with the likes of albert pujos, josh hamelton, and mike trout in your line up, for a bunch of good prospects that might never reach the big leagues?

    i see trout and trumbo in angels uniform for a long time, and if angels management can’t see this, they might as well extend pujos contract.

    • mikehllywa

      I mentioned prospects once. I also mentioned a pre-arbitration pitcher.

      I’m not saying that I WANT to trade Trumbo, I’m saying that he could yield the most value in return for a position where the Angels desperately need help. Pitching. I would probably cry if he were traded, but I would also understand.

      And, ahem, Ham-il-ton.

  • Mikel Troutin

    Yes, definitely time to sell high and rebuild the farm. Trumbo is great and is cheap which is what a lot of teams want at the trade deadline. Angels can still be effective and win without Trumbo. They don’t need his offense…either Hamilton and Pujols hit or they don’t. The future is bleak with 2 albatross contracts sinking them to a bottomless pit. Need to trade guys like Trumbo and Kendrick now for top prospects and you can still win next year while getting better in the future.

  • Ryan Schmidt

    this is one of the dumbest articles this year. Lets just give Butcher a ten year contract too! Lets see, they traded Morales this year which means 6-9 in the line up looks more like a national league line up. No threats and now wit hPujols out the only two players with power besides Trout is the 3 and 4 hitter Hamilton and Trumbo. But, you want to trade Trumbo! Brilliant, lets have 8 slap hitting singles hitters on the team! Mike loves that, I mean mike has basically destroyed this team the last two years. So make that 7 slap singles hitters and Trout and Hamilton your only threat! Bronx Bombers!

  • Ryan Schmidt

    Angels woulnt even be in this position if it wasnt for the managing of Mike Scioscia & running Morales out of town. 1. yes Morales is a FA end of season, but should of traded Bourjos for pitching. Let me know when Bourjos learns how to steal bases. With Morales the Angels would of had a very dangerous line up especially hitters 3-6.
    Hamilton
    Pujols
    Trumbo
    Morales

    Then the Angels would not have to have such a drop off after the 5 man such as Callapso hitting 6th. Every think Hamilton would of got of to a better start with 4 power hitters plus trout?

    But, hey Scioscia screwed over Morales just like Napoli. I mean, look at Kendrys stats this year, 16 home runs ,58 RBI 280 avg, itake it hes playing every day. But Scioscia fans would say Kendry can hit right handed! How in the hell do you know if you dont give him the chance? I can see if you play him every day and then late July he is hitting 215 vs lefties, but thats not Mike. He decides in April Kendry should platoon.

    As for the way Miek handles the pitching staff, well he lives on pitch counts. he can never go outside the box and lets say let Weaver go 9 when up 3 to 1? or a Richards up 1-0 throwing a 3 hitter on 78 pitches with a fresh arm, to ride him? Richards should of been in rotation to start the season.

    Then we have Williams who was 4-2 ERA around 260 and throing good and Hanson ready to come back so Mike takes the hot pitcher Williams puts him in the pen for a 1-10 Blanton? Way to screw around with Williams head, he hasnt been the same. No more excuses last two years this team should be competing for 1st but never spent more then 1 day in 1st.