Trade Values – Mark Trumbo

About two minutes after Albert Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels, the discussion among Pittsburgh Pirates fans (and any other team looking for a first baseman) shifted to “what would it take to get Mark Trumbo”?  The theory is that with Pujols and Kendrys Morales, the Angels wouldn’t need Trumbo, and would look to deal him elsewhere.  The Angels haven’t really said that they’d be trading Trumbo, and it doesn’t make sense for them to do so with the future of Morales uncertain. They’ve actually said that they’ll find a spot for Trumbo, mentioning third base, so any hope for a trade might be wishful thinking.

It’s no secret why Pirates fans want Trumbo. The Pirates don’t have a lot of power in their lineup. Pedro Alvarez has the best power potential on the team, and he’s a huge question mark going in to the 2012 season. Andrew McCutchen hits for power, but more along the lines of a number two power source. Trumbo hit 29 homers in his first full season in the majors last year. That followed a season where he hit 36 homers at the AAA level. He only hit 15 homers in AA during the 2009 season, but had 32 homers between high-A and AA in 2008, with most of those coming at the high-A level.

Pirates fans have become obsessed with power, to the point that they’ll want anyone with power.  There’s no question that Trumbo has that power, but what else does he have? He walked just 4.4% of the time in 2011. He hit for a .254 average. The combination led to a .291 on-base percentage. His 29 home runs looked good, but what happens if his power drops to 20-25 home runs as a right handed hitter in PNC Park?  That’s a major drop in value when you consider that the bulk of his value comes from his power.

To get an idea of what it would take to get Trumbo in a trade, let’s look at his trade value.

2012 $0.5 2.3 $11.2
2013 $0.5 2.3 $11.2
2014 $4.0 2.3 $7.1
2015 $6.0 2.3 $4.8
2016 $8.0 2.3 $2.5
TOTAL $21.7 11.5 $36.8

Explanation: Trumbo is under team control for five seasons. He had a 2.3 WAR in 2011, so I stuck with that number for the duration of his team control. I also went with the 40/60/80 scale based off of that WAR. Those numbers might seem high, but arbitration heavily values home runs, so it wouldn’t be out of the question for him to receive this amount if he continues putting up 25-30 homers a year.

What He’s Worth: A lot of Trumbo’s value comes from his two league minimum years. He’s a huge value if he can repeat his 2011 season under league minimum pay.  If he was being traded prior to his arbitration years, he’d have about $14.4 M in trade value. That’s a little less than the value of a top pitching prospect, or the value of two lesser prospects.  Right now he’s worth a top 10 hitting prospect, with most of that value coming in the first two years.

Analysis: The only thing that gives Trumbo value is his power. He hit 29 home runs last year, but so did Josh Willingham. Willingham also had a low average, with a .246 line. However, Willingham actually drew a few walks, leading to a .332 on-base percentage and a higher OPS. There’s not a huge demand to add Willingham to the Pirates, even though he hit 29 homers last year and has hit 20+ homers in four of his last six seasons (he had less than 400 at-bats in the other two). I’m not going to say that power isn’t a good thing to have, but it can’t be the only thing you have. At this point it doesn’t seem like the Angels will trade Trumbo, but even if they were dealing him, I wouldn’t give up prospects to get him when a player with similar value could be had on the free agent market for only the cost of money.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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MLB Non-Tender Candidates

  • Vince Riedy

    Morales is the more likely available player.

  • Brian Bernard

    morales hasn’t shown that he is past his injuries, reports on MLB are that he is struggling with rehabbing.

  • James S

    One difference between Trumbo & Willingham is that Josh does frequent DL stints and gets hurt a lot and though we don’t have enough data on Trumbo, he’s stayed healthy.
    Willingham hasn’t gotten 500 ab in a season since 2007.
    That’s the main drawback about signing him. If there was a guarantee that he would put up 500 ab each year, I’d jump on him, and even for multiple years because you are definitely going to get the home runs and production when he is 100% healthy.

    • white angus

      a move to 1B could possibly reduce those visits to the DL

  • Anonymous

    I can understand Pirate fans wanting somebody to play first that is capable of hitting close to 30 hr there is no power at anyother position on the field except for Cutch.

    I think a platoon of Evans and Jones can give them 25 hr and if they keep Jones mainly against RH pitching he might put up good numbers but the defense is pedestrian. I like Lee’s glove and presence on the team but if they land him he is going to cost too much and i really doubt that he will repeat what he did last year with the Bucs.

    It would be nice to have a better option at 3rd but it would be hard to acquire a good player to sit for long periods behind Pedro while he struggles finding his stroke.

  • Robert

    I have a suggestion for a trade value comparison.  How about Paul Konerko?  It looks like Chicago is selling off for the future and due to that fact of his age and salary, he is someone the Bucs should look into IMHO.  What do you think?

    • Tim Williams

      He has a no trade.

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