Mark Trumbo went to the All-Star Game last year and is about to notch a second straight 30-homer, 90-RBI season, so he could easily fall back on the old “I get paid to produce runs” line. It’s nice to see that he doesn’t.
“The casual fan would probably be pretty pumped up when they see the baseball-card numbers, and the new-age fans are probably not going to be too terribly thrilled with a player like me,” Trumbo told MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. “But you know what, at the end of the day, you are who you are. I want to get better and do what I do.”
By the new-age fans, Trumbo is referring to those who would point to his current .291 OBP. His career mark is .299. Of the 251 first basemen since 1900 to amass 1,500 plate appearances in the majors, Trumbo ranks 238th in OBP.
On the other hand, Trumbo has 90 homers and 268 RBI in three seasons of playing time. That makes him an asset, even if he’s more of a No. 5 or No. 6 hitter than someone who should bat cleanup with any regularity.
“I do quite a few things well, and there are some things I don’t do well, which are quite obvious,” Trumbo said. “Unfortunately, you tend to dwell on what you want to get better at. I spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out how I can do certain things better.”
Another player in Trumbo’s situation might be content with his lot. That Trumbo isn’t bodes better for his future. The Angels declared him off limits in trade talks this summer, and he’s still being viewed as one of their building blocks.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.