Mark Trumbo’s ability to make pitchers pay will go a long way in determining the D’backs’ success. Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired some pop for their outfield by trading for Mark Trumbo of the Los Angeles Angels. The deal was not without a little controversy as the players the D’backs gave up (Tyler Skaggs to LA and Adam Eaton to the White Sox) were unproven but young talents with much upside. Trumbo is considered an all or nothing slugger, a guy with a lifetime on-base percentage of .299 who is a liability on defense. Did I mention that although Trumbo has played in the outfield, his primary position is first base? While it sounds very negative, I believe this deal will pay big dividends for the D’backs in general and Paul Goldschmidt in particular.
How 2013 went: The Angels were one of the most disappointing teams in all of baseball last season. Expected to contend for the World Series, the Halos instead went 77-84, 18 games behind the AL West champion Oakland A’s. However, Trumbo had a pretty good year at the plate setting career highs in home runs with 34 and RBI’s with 100 while playing in 159 games. Fears of an all or nothing player are justified considering his strikeouts went up to 184 and all of his slash line numbers decreased, including a drop to a woeful .294 OBP.
Outlook for 2014: We know that Trumbo will put up big power numbers. Moving from a pitcher-friendly park in Anaheim to a hitter-friendly locale at Chase Field has more than one person feeling that his home run total could top 40. However, that alone will not determine if the acquisition is a success for the D’backs. One of the biggest keys for the 2014 season will be how successful will Trumbo be when teams decide to pitch around Goldy to get to him. For example, if runners are on second and third with one out and Goldchmidt is walked intentionally, can Trumbo be counted on to at least bring a run home from third? That means avoiding the strikeout and doing something as simple as getting the ball in the air. Sure, we would love a grand slam but how often does that happen? He can make an out as long as that runner from third gets home. The pressure will be on Trumbo, especially early in the season to show that he can make pitchers pay for giving Goldy a free pass. That will go a long way in determining whether or not the D’backs will make the playoffs. The Angels were a sub-.500 ball club that last season. Maybe that affects player performance in terms of trying to do too much. In my opinion, a change of scenery will prove to be beneficial to Mark Trumbo.