Here’s how bad Mark Trumbo’s defense has been at third base: He’s hitting .375 with a 1.224 OPS so far this season and yet the Angels have left him on the bench for the past two games.
That they have a logjam at first base, designated hitter, and the corner outfield spots is nothing new and led to trade speculation all offseason, but the plan of lessening that logjam by using Trumbo regularly at third base appears to be a no-go.
Trumbo has played just three games there so far, making three errors and looking just as rough around the edges as nearly everyone predicted. To his credit Trumbo is saying all the right things about understanding the lack of playing time and continuing to work hard defensively to show manager Mike Scioscia that he can capably play the position, but some things are simply beyond the scope of hard work and determination.
Last year Trumbo appeared in all but 13 games for the Angels, but he’s already missed five games and has a grand total of 19 plate appearances two weeks into the season.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.