Trumbo (Or Trumbomb)
Trade For Dbacks?
Just About A Year After Trading Away A Power Bat That Cost Too Much Money — cough, Justin Upton — Kevin Towers Moves Youngsters Tyler Skaggs And Adam Eaton For An Angels Fan Favorite
Los Angeles Angels, Mark Trumbo, traded to Arizona Diamondbacks. Image by Keith Allison and used under a Creative Commons Lisence.
By Bob Goodwood
Modern Times Magazine
Dec. 10, 2013 — So the boo birds have come out for the Arizona Diamondbacks first significant move of this offseason.
They ended the Tyler Skaggs love affair and the Adam Eaton fling. But what they got in return is the sort of big bat that could either be great protection for Paul Goldschmidt or a center of the galaxy-type of black hole.
Most of those that hate the deal do so with dreams of Tyler Skaggs someday soon doing his best Max Scherzer impression in Los Angeles and Eaton leading the Southsiders to the World Series. But those two assumptions are huge leaps of faith.
Skaggs likely had no where to pitch but AAA in 2014. It doesn’t take a Sabermetrics expert to realize the D-backs rotation in 2014 will likely start with Patrick Corbin followed by Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, Archie Bradley, Brandon McCarthy and/or a veteran “frontline” starter that GM Kevin Towers covets. Corbin and Miley are likely locks. Bradley ironically needs to prove that he has nothing to prove — in the minors. And, no one will likely take Brandon McCarthy in 2014 because he is owed $9 million and has not proven that he is the same pitcher he was two years ago.
That is six potential starters. Randall Delgado proved his arm works in The Show, regardless of his role.
If Skaggs stayed in the Diamondbacks organization and had a 2014 like 2013, the team wouldn’t have been able to give him away.
Eaton was just as expendable as Skaggs. The elbow injury Eaton suffered in spring training gave AJ Pollock an opportunity and Pollock earned the everyday job with his performance. But Pollock’s emergence did not take away Eaton’s potential, Eaton did. He’s fast, but he’s also a bit of a bonehead, quite frankly. Several times in his abbreviated 2013 he did things on the baseball field that made you go ..... what?!?
Remember the time Eaton slowed down on his way to first base with one out and said he forgot how many outs there were? There are other examples but none as infamous.
Pollock on the other hand, proved he actually went to class at Notre Dame and has the cerebral power to play in the big leagues. He was the center fielder even if Eaton doesn’t get traded.
So Skaggs and Eaton are expendable. What’s wrong with Trumbo?
Critics point to the fact that he is a 200 strikeout candidate and nothing more than Mark Reynolds in the outfield. It might be true, but when Towers parted with Reynolds after the 2010 season it was under the assumption that the D-backs did not have a guy to build a roster around. Paul Goldschmidt changed things.
They don’t need to have a lineup solely based on scrappy disciplined hitters because they have a disciplined hitter that ALSO has power in Goldschmidt. If the D-backs stay healthy they have a potent lineup of disciplined hitters with a smattering of fence swingers. Pollock, Hill, Prado, and Goldschmidt are guys that can take the ball the other way to move a runner up. Montero, Trumbo, Gregorius and Parra, not as regularly. But there is balance.
Goldy is likely to reduce his strikeout total next year when he gets some pitches to hit, likely leaving Trumbo the only guy on the roster to have more than 100 strikeouts next season.
What about the skeptics who say Trumbo can’t play left field? Well, the same guys (or their uncles at least) said the same thing about Luis Gonzales. And, in 68 games in left field over the last two years, Trumbo only has committed one error. He might never win a gold glove, but he’s no Jose Canseco with the glove, he’s better.
So why does the consensus seem to think this deal is a dud?
Because its December, probably.
When the games start, we’ll know. Eventually, we’ll know.
The most important question is should have Towers made the deal. And, simply because Eaton and Skaggs were likely not going to make the roster anyway, the answer has to be yes.
The Diamondbacks scored runs last year and Skaggs and Eaton impacted that result very minimally. They need (according to Towers) a veteran starter to pair with the young guns and that is not Skaggs. Instead, they have added a guy that is projected to hit at least 35 home runs and drive in more than 100 runs. But even if he becomes a black hole in the lineup, the team can always take him out of the lineup and still score runs.
Trumbo is affordable at a projected $4.5 million in 2014 after arbitration. And, there are still two players to be named before the deal will be completed and those player might swing the perception of this deal mightily.
If Trumbo fails, though, and hits below .200, Kevin Towers will get more blame than Trumbo.
Trumbombs — the nickname for his home-runs adopted by LA Angels fans — will definitely happen at Chase Field this year.
Hopefully for Kevin Towers, they will be in the bleacher seats not on his reputation.
Bob Goodwood can be reached at email@example.com.
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