Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has routinely downplayed a potential trade of Mark Trumbo so far this offseason, but things are heating up at the Winter Meetings in Orlando.
The Diamondbacks are in the market for a power bat this winter and made a strong run at Carlos Beltran before he agreed to a deal with the Yankees. Trumbo would obviously fit the bill, but the price tag would be substantial. Arizona does have starting pitching to deal, which is one obvious area of need for the Angels. Top prospect Archie Bradley isn’t going anywhere, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today speculated over the weekend that Tyler Skaggs, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy and Wade Miley could be on the table.
Trumbo, who turns 28 in January, has amassed 95 home runs over the past three seasons. Only Jay Bruce, Jose Bautista, Adrian Beltre, and Miguel Cabrera have more during the same timespan. His power has value, but he owns a .299 on-base percentage through 460 games in the majors.
UPDATE: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that 12 teams are in the mix for Trumbo, with ESPN’s Jayson Stark naming the Royals as another potential fit. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times hears that the Angels are not interested in Skaggs for Trumbo, at least one-for-one-.
On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”
Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”
Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.
The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.
When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.