A fact of baseball in 2013: If you can acquire a slugger capable of hitting 30 homers per year, you do it. Power is a commodity, an expensive commodity at that.
However, that doesn't mean Arizona Diamondbacks fans should look at newly acquired slugger Mark Trumbo — obtained in a three-team swap with the Los Angeles Angels and Chicago White Sox — as Superman. The D-backs gave up a pitcher in Tyler Skaggs whose upside seems to have diminished a bit, and an outfielder in Adam Eaton who might become really good, but was expendable in Arizona if it meant acquiring a power-hitter. The D-backs needed another power bat, and they went out and got it in Trumbo.
It's not a bad deal for the Diamondbacks. It's just that behind the 35-homer, 100-RBI power, sits a player with flaws, and a player going into a situation that's flawed. Just warning you, Arizona: Trumbo may end up being that Christmas gift you don't like as much a month after you take it out of the box.
1. The homers and the RBIs are great, but about the rest of those stats?
In 2013, Trumbo hit 34 homers with 100 RBIs, one of only 10 players in MLB who went for 30/100. Here's that list, sorted by on-base percentage:
You see Trumbo there at the bottom? That's not good. He's also second-to-last among those players in batting average and near the top in strikeouts. It's not on the chart, but Trumbo also ranks the lowest of those 10 in WAR with 2.2. Pedro Alvarez, for example, who is a pretty comparable player, had a WAR of 3.4.
2. He's going to play left field?
Trumbo isn't a defensive marvel. He's a guy with a big stick who you put at first base because he can hit the ball far. Problem: Arizona has Paul Goldschmidt there and he's the face of the franchise. Trumbo is also a DH-type of guy. Problem: He's in the National League now. So that means the Diamondbacks plan to use Trumbo in left field. Not what we like to call "ideal."
3. Pitchers can get him out.
Check out this "cold map" by ESPN's Mark Simon and notice that Trumbo has a few spots that need to be avoided, but otherwise he's maybe not as dangerous as the power numbers make it seem.
Re-sharing due to a link that somehow busted. Mark Trumbo's heat map (cold map?) pic.twitter.com/5wTNPXqVW8
— Mark Simon (@msimonespn) December 10, 2013
4. Age is not on their side
Trumbo will be 28 on opening day. That's not old, but it's not like they're getting a 24-year-old either. The D-backs gave up Eaton (25 on opening day) and Skaggs (22), so this deal isn't looking years and years ahead. It's about competing in the NL West now, about catching the Dodgers now. Trumbo does have three more arbitration-eligible years, so that's beneficial for the D-backs. He's not going to play another year, then either scram or need a huge contract.
5. How does Mark Reynolds 2.0 sound?
Not saying that Mark Trumbo is going to be exactly like Mark Reynolds. He could be better. But it's hard to look at Trumbo, then look at the Diamondbacks and not think about Reynolds. He did, after all, lead he league in strikeouts from 2008-2010 while wearing a D-backs uniform. Of course, Reynolds also hit 44 homers and drove in 102 runs in 2009.
OK, D-backs fans, we'll stop now. Not trying to rain all your Winter Meetings parade, just offering a little bit of a reality check about what Mark Trumbo is and what he is not.
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