COMMENTARY | July is a great month. We celebrate our independence with some of the things that make America great: a four-day weekend, gluttonous eating and fireworks.
And in baseball, we're treated to the All-Star game, the start of the season's second half and the trade deadline -- with its avalanche of real and imagined trade rumors.
Trade talk has become a huge part of following baseball -- for fans, journalists, teams and even players. Is this team a buyer or a seller? Who are they buying? Who are they selling? Who might be traded? Who might, maybe, possibly, potentially be traded? There are seemingly an infinite number of potential trades.
Unless you're a team like the Los Angeles Angels. They have no trade rumors -- because they're stuck in the weird place of having committed too many resources to winning with not enough to show for it to justify using further resources.
I wrote previously about how I felt that now could be a very good time for the Angels to trade away Mark Trumbo. This idea wasn't very popular and was rejected by many readers. Scanning through the hurtful comments -- while holding back my tears -- there were a few recurring questions that I'd like to answer.
First, I want to thank the two people who agreed with me. Mom and Dad, you guys are great. Second, just because my opinion isn't the same as yours, doesn't mean it's wrong.
Some people think Two and a Half Men or gluten-free pizza or Kim Kardashian aren't some of the worst things to ever happen. But there's no way for anyone to prove an opinion.
I still think the Angels should trade Mark Trumbo, and I'm going to try to prove that my opinion has some merit.
He's not that great: I hate to be the one to break it to you guys, but Trumbo isn't "the best hitter on the team" or "the only productive player we've got" or "able to leap tall buildings in a single bound." He's a one-dimensional slugger who isn't a very good fielder or base runner. But his "perceived" value couldn't be higher -- and the reader reactions only corroborate that.
Trumbo's position: One of my favorite reasons people gave for not trading Trumbo is that he plays three different positions: first base, third base and outfield. Great comedy. He's below average at each of those. The positions he's good at are designated hitter and sitting.
Home runs and RBIs: "Trumbo leads the team in home runs and RBIs, bro!" The home runs are good. But RBIs? Meh. Those are more about how many people were on base in front of a hitter. A lot of people still seem to think the Triple Crown statistics are important. Trumbo also leads the team in strikeouts -- so I guess it's a Quadruple Crown.
My "either way" argument: This was my boldest statement: That if the rest of the team starts to perform well, the Angels don't need his production and if they don't come around, then his production is wasted on a losing team. I know baseball doesn't work exactly this way, but during the team's recent six-game winning streak, Trumbo has only factored into one of the games -- and even then the team scored enough runs to win -- either way.
Favorite player: Homegrown players always have a special appeal to fans, and I dig that. You know what I love more than seeing my favorite homegrown player? Seeing my team win even with just my second- and third-favorite players.
Trade for what? I was thinking you'd all just assume that for a player of Trumbo's perceived value, the trade would be for a nice haul of young, projectable players.
Young and cheap: Many readers couldn't get past my idea of wanting to trade a "young and cheap" player like Trumbo. Well, he's 27 -- widely regarded as a baseball player's peak age -- and next year he starts arbitration and while the Triple Drown stats are somewhat silly to emphasize, no one emphasizes them more than MLB salary arbitrators.
C.J. Wilson: Some readers suggested that Wilson is actually the guy that the team really needs to trade. Great idea. Now you just have to find a team dumb enough to acquire a mediocre, overpaid pitcher. Can the Angels trade with themselves?
It's not too late for the Angels to dangle Trumbo out there on the open market and see what payload they can get. So, let's get those trade rumors flying!
Jed Rigney is a Los Angeles-based award-winning filmmaker who also fancies himself a baseball writer. He is the lead humor columnist at Through The Fence Baseball. You can follow him on Twitter @JedRigney.
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- Mark Trumbo