One thing you should know about me before you read any further is that I am an optimist. So if this comes off as a little cheery for your liking, you will know why.
My initial reaction of the trade of Tyler Skaggs and Adam Eaton for Mark Trumbo and two players to be named later was a letdown. It was hard to believe that the Arizona Diamondbacks traded a promising, young pitching prospect and a potential solid leadoff hitter for a guy that hits home runs and has a large strikeout total. For some excellent reading on the values that were exchanged, head over to Ryan Morrison’s piece at Insidethezona which you can access here (after you are done here, of course). However, after having a chance to think it over, getting a good night’s sleep and exercising outdoors in 20 degree weather, I have managed to put together some coherent thoughts on why this trade might not be so bad.
First off, maybe Mark Trumbo was the best they could do in a trade. I had wanted them to take a run at Domonic Brown once it was learned he might be available. However, maybe the Phillies would be asking for more than just Skaggs and Eaton. Ask yourself if you would be willing to throw in more for a guy that had exactly one good season. As for other trade candidates, who else could the D’backs have targeted? Carlos Gonzalez? Do you think the Rockies would have traded him within the division unless they got a king’s ransom? As far as free agency goes, they took a run at Carlos Beltran. He wanted to be a Yankee. I would have liked them to take a shot at Shin Choo Choo but would you have wanted to spend over $20 million a year on him? That is probably what he will eventually get. How about Nelson Cruz? PED’s aside, did you want to give him a long term deal? At least for me the answer to the last three questions was no.
As to the player himself, I get it he has power but little else. I know yesterday I compared Trumbo to Mark Reynolds in the sense of a low slash line and high strikeout totals. The truth is, he makes a lot more contact and his 184 strikeouts in 2013 could be attributed to a rotten Angels season. He provides a legitimate long ball threat every time he steps up to the plate. Offensive production is what this team needs; Trumbo provides instant offense. As far as his play in the field goes, any deficiency he may have will be covered by playing next to A.J. Pollock and Gerardo Parra. Ask yourself this: are the D’backs a more dangerous offensive club today than they were last season now that Mark Trumbo will be in left field every day? For me, the answer is yes.
As far as fan reaction goes, it seems to be a little mixed. Most people on Twitter (like me) were annoyed with the deal. When I got home and turned on MLB Network, many D’backs’ fans were supportive of the move. Conversely, I read a lot of negative reactions by LA fans. They were upset that Trumbo was traded and can you blame them for being incredulous at getting a guy who has limited Major League action for someone who can hit 35 home runs a year? To be fair, there are probably a number of Angels’ fans who were supportive of the deal, getting a 22 year old left handed pitcher for a guy whose bat they could probably live without. I guess to this point, it is all about perspective.
Speaking of Skaggs, I did not want him dealt. It doesn’t seem logical to give up young, left-handed starting pitching. However, I became resigned to the fact that Skaggs was a goner when his name surfaced at the trading deadline as a chip. It also didn’t help that he was shuttled eight times between Phoenix and Reno. He needs a change of scenery and he is out of the National League which means he will get to burn the D’backs on rare occasions. As far Eaton goes, he is a good player but you can make the argument that A.J. Pollock will be just fine in center and two major injuries in less than a year is bothersome.
It took almost a day, but I have come to support this deal. I hate losing Skaggs but I like the power Trumbo brings to Arizona. He and Paul Goldschmidt will make a nice 3-4 which can lengthen the depth of the lineup. Doing nothing was not an option. If this deal was not made and Kevin Towers came home without the bat he needed, then he would get flak for not getting something. I live in New York and I know many a Met fan who would kill for their organization be this active. Credit Towers and company for being bold even if you are not 100% sold on the result.