The Angels Would Trade Mark Trumbo For Pitching

Buster Olney reported today that Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo is available for pitching.

That news already has Pirates fans salivating, since the Pirates have a need at first base, a need in the middle of the order, and have a lot of pitching. The big thing that stands out with Trumbo is his power. He has hit 95 home runs over the last three years. There might be some fantasy baseball analysis involved with Trumbo, as he doesn’t do much beyond the home runs. He’s got a career .768 OPS, including a .747 mark in 2013. He strikes out a ton, with a career 25% strikeout rate, and a 27% rate in 2013. He did increase his walks last year, but only to 8%, and his career 6.3% isn’t strong.

Trumbo is basically Pedro Alvarez at first base. He hits a ton of home runs, he doesn’t draw a lot of walks, and he strikes out too much. Alvarez strikes out more than Trumbo, but also draws more walks. It’s not a bad thing to be a three true outcomes guy (strikeouts, walks, and homers), and Trumbo is more of a “two true outcomes” guy since he doesn’t draw a ton of walks. I point this out because a lot of people are going to be basing Trumbo’s value on his home runs, and not the overall game (a 2-2.5 WAR player the last three years).

Trumbo is arbitration eligible for the first time this year, and MLBTR projects him to make $4.7 M. A quick estimate of his trade value has him worth about $15 M in surplus value over the next three years. That would be a top 26-50 pitcher, or a combination of lesser prospects.

I don’t know if the Pirates are even interested in Trumbo, as I haven’t seen them linked to him. Anyone thinking about a Trumbo trade is going to start by thinking about Jameson Taillon, but Taillon has more value. Honestly I wouldn’t trade much for Trumbo, since the Pirates could get his value on the open market. A James Loney/Gaby Sanchez platoon would provide the same combined value. Loney was a 2.7 WAR player last year, while Sanchez was an 0.8 WAR player as a platoon option. Together they could easily reach the 2.0-2.5 range that Trumbo has been in, and without giving up any prospects.

The flip side is that a Loney/Sanchez platoon wouldn’t provide the power Trumbo provides. Not that this makes Trumbo more valuable than Loney/Sanchez, but the power does make Trumbo a slightly better fit for the Pirates. It seems like the Angels would be looking for immediate help, so you’d have to wonder if the Pirates could deal from their major league depth, or their bullpen to try and get Trumbo. That might sound like low value, but keep in mind that I’m looking past the home runs and looking at Trumbo’s true value as an overall player. Basically, if he didn’t come at the cost of Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, or Nick Kingham, I think it would be worth it for the Pirates to deal pitching for Trumbo. Otherwise, they’d be better off going the free agent route.

Author: 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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