September 16, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Los Angeles Angels first basemen Mark Trumbo (44) hits a three-run home run against the Kansas City Royals during the second inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Trumbo On The Move?

Josh Hamilton has agreed to a five year, $125M contract with the Los Angeles Angels this afternoon, locking up a corner outfield spot for the next few years.  With Vernon Wells still owed $21M the next two seasons, that leaves Mark Trumbo or Kendrys Morales expendable.  Morales doesn’t have much value to the Braves, but Trumbo could slide into left field at a nice price.

The best comparison I can give for Trumbo is Mike Morse.  His plate discipline is awful, but the raw power is off-the-charts.  In his first two seasons, the soon-to-be 27-year-old has hit .259/.302/.478 while playing a below-average corner outfield and decent at first base.  He’s been just above average during that span, though he hasn’t been the most consistent player.  After starting this past season with four great months, August and September were Uggla-esque, hitting .202/.246/.293.  I don’t have any proof of this, but high-strikeout players seem to be streakier.

Trumbo is still one year away from arbitration, so he would only be making the minimum this coming season.  This would give the Braves a chance to acquire a quality bench bat, likely after trading Juan Francisco.  It would add even more strikeouts to a whiff-heavy lineup, but he is probably the only cheap impact bat remaining on the market.  The lineup would have a lot of 5/6 hitters, but it would be better than having Francisco and Reed Johnson getting consistent starts.

This move also makes Peter Bourjos a likely trade candidate, making the B.J. Upton deal seem even worse.  They are essentially the same style of hitter, though Upton has more power, but Bourjos is an elite defensive centerfielder, in the class of Michael Bourn.  Upton is not likely to be much more effective than Bourjos, but the Braves will pay a whole lot more money for Upton than whoever pays the minimum salary for Bourjos.  If the Braves would have went for a quality left fielder first, Bourjos would have been a nice secondary addition.

The Braves paid market value or higher at a position that had plenty of below-market players.  The effects of the poor free agent deals are somewhat offset by the large amount of  cost-controlled quality players.  However, the poor farm system, especially on the position player side, will likely rear its ugly head in a couple years when guys like Jason Heyward, Brandon Beachy, Freddie Freeman, and others start making a lot of money.  A mid-market team paying market value for a bulk of its talent will not get too far.

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  • fireboss

    Bourjos is a better option and I suspect after today’s quote by the GM that Trumbo isn’t going anywhere followed by Bourjos saying he wants to play every day so send me someplace I can (paraphrased) is more available. Who we’d have to give up to get him is another question. I’m sure a dozen teams have asked for him already but he’s a really good fit.

    • Lee Trocinski

      DiPoto said just on Wednesday that the Angels were likely done making any impact moves, so I don’t believe any of his statements. Below-average bats in the corner outfield usually ends up being a bad idea, even with Bourjos’ defensive prowess.

      • fireboss

        Hamilton wasn’t a DiPoto move it was all Arte Moreno not wanting to be upstaged by the Dodgers signing Greinke away from him. The Angels lineup with a full year of Pujols and Trout will score a gazillion runs – of course they’ll have to with the pitchers in their rotation likely to give up just under a gazillion. Their need like the Rangers is a top of the line starter and they’ll obviously try to fill that need by trading outfield depth now. The Braves don’t match up with that very well and in spite of the rumors I don’t see the Mets as a match either.

        Trumbo might well be the player moved if their internal information indicates that he’s more the player of the second half than the first but even so they’ll ask for a multiplayer package unless offered a Hellickson level starter.

  • Rob Konis

    No chance the Angels trade Trumbo. I would be shocked if they did. They might trade Morales and you are right there is no fit here for the Braves. I wonder where they will trade Vernon Wells unless they keep him as a $25 million a year bench player. Wow is that a bad contact.

    • Lee Trocinski

      The Angels will most likely have to pay Wells no matter where he goes, so maybe they will just DFA him and let Trumbo play the other corner. If they keep Wells, he will find time to try to justify his salary.

      • fireboss

        Exactly. well was bad bad bad last year and the Angels were unable to even give him away while swallowing 75% of his salary. Moreno will I believe just DFA him at some point this spring to clear the roster spot. My old editor here would remind Moreno and DiPoto that Wells is a sunken cost and they should stop worrying about it and just write it off. Trumbo’s prodigious bat isn’t moving soon unless the Angels are offered a young proven healthy front line (1 or 2) starter.

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