Mark Trumbo Rumors

NL West Notes: Trumbo, Hundley, Guerrero

Hall of Famer and longtime Padres stalwart Tony Gwynn is taking a leave of absence from his position as head coach of San Diego State’s baseball program, the AP reports (via the New York Times). The 53-year-old, who has battled mouth cancer in recent years, is said to be recovering from undisclosed health issues. Needless to say, MLBTR extends its best wishes to the all-time great and his family.

Here’s more from the NL West:

  • The Diamondbacks announced today that outfielder Mark Trumbo underwent an MRI that showed an apparent stress fracture in his left foot. He is set to seek a second opinion. As Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic notes on Twitter, Trumbo said a previous stress fracture in his other foot required 5 1/2 months to heal, though he noted that this one was not as bad. The 28-year-old, the team’s key offseason acquisition, is leading the league with seven home runs, though he has just a .264 OBP. There is currently no timetable for Trumbo to return.
  • With yesterday’s news that the Padres are talking with multiple other teams about a trade of catcher Nick Hundley, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune names some theoretical landing spots. He mentions four clubs that have had significant injuries — the Rangers, Yankees, Dodgers, and Nationals — though it’s not clear that any of those organizations would look to add Hundley. Several other teams have received scant production from their backup options, including the division-rival Diamondbacks (Tuffy Gosewisch) and Giants (Hector Sanchez). (Of course, Sanchez just hit two resounding home runs today for San Francisco.) The Royals could conceivably be interested in upgrading Brett Hayes, though he has seen only one plate appearance with Salvador Perez playing just about every day. Likewise, the White Sox could make sense, though they have Josh Phegley in the minors and would have to part with Rule 5 pick Adrian Nieto if he lost his active roster spot. Of course, all of these clubs are merely hypothetical possibilities, as no reports have emerged about specific teams in discussions.
  • The Dodgers‘ biggest offseason splash was the signing of infielder Alex Guerrero, who proved unable to crack the big league lineup out of the spring. But Guerrero, who signed for four years and $28MM out of Cuba, is off to a big start at Triple-A. Through 37 plate appearances, he has hit a robust .467/.568/.900 with two home runs and five walks against just one strikeout. Nevertheless, manager Don Mattingly says that the club wants him to spend time learning to play second, as MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reported yesterday“This kind of stuff doesn’t happen overnight,” said Mattingly. “Eight games, you’re not going to see much difference in that amount of time.” Of course, Dee Gordon has been outstanding in the season’s early going — he is slashing .369/.408/.492 with a league-leading 12 steals — and figures to have earned a good deal of leash at the keystone.
  • In other news today from the division, injured Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is now set to begin a rehab assignment, as Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Padres starter Josh Johnson is headed in the other direction, as he will be out for the season after it was decided that he will undergo Tommy John surgery. The question now becomes whether the team will pick up its $4MM option for 2015, though that may be a difficult cost to take on given that Johnson has already had one TJ procedure and would presumably not be ready until some time in the middle of next season. Meanwhile, we heard that the Diamondbacks could be getting closer to a shake-up involving GM Kevin Towers and/or manager Kirk Gibson. Arizona did show some life in a late comeback today against the Cubs.

Diamondbacks Avoid Arbitration With Mark Trumbo

The Diamondbacks have avoided arbitration with Mark Trumbo, settling on a one-year, $4.8MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports via Twitter. Trumbo's salary lands just north of the $4.7MM he was projected to earn by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.

Trumbo ($5.85MM) and the Diamondbacks ($3.4MM) had by far the largest relative split in filing numbers among cases involving a $4.5MM or greater player demand. Yet Arizona was able to bridge that gap with its prize off-season acquisition, giving the slugger a bit more than the $4.625MM midpoint between the sides' numbers. The 28-year-old will make a hefty salary for his first trip through arbitration, yet another reminder that home runs pay in that setting. (Trumbo has averaged over 30 long balls per year over his three full-time MLB seasons.)


Arbitration Filing Numbers

MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker is the place to go to see the arbitration contracts agreed upon thus far, as well as the figures exchanged between teams and players that were not able to reach agreement before today's noon deadline to swap salary positions. Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available here.

As MLBTR has previously explained, 146 players officially filed for arbitration (after some eligible and tendered players had alread reached agreement). Of those, 40 players will exchange figures with their clubs. Of course, those players can still reach agreements before their hearings (which will take place betwee February 1st and 21st). If the case goes to a hearing, the arbitrator must choose one side's figures, rather than settling on a midpoint.

For the Braves players listed below, however, Atlanta says it will cease negotiations and take all cases to a hearing. Two other teams that have swapped figures with some players — the Nationals and Indians — also have employed variations of the "file and trial" approach with their arbitration cases.

Though a tweet from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal indicates that the Reds have joined the list of teams employing "file and trial," GM Walt Jocketty did not seem to echo that position in comments today to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. It turns out that the team has only taken that position with respect to players whose deals were valued under the $2MM level, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

We will use this post to keep tabs on the the highest-stakes arbitration situations remaining — those where the player files for at least $4.5MM:



Cafardo On Trumbo, Middlebrooks, Burnett, Morales

The Winter Meetings featured the three-team trade that sent Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks, as well as a number of other moves, but Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe argues that this year's meetings featured plenty of press, but comparatively little meaningful activity. Cafardo wonders whether baseball should issue a moratorium on moves before the Winter Meetings, so that the meetings themselves feature more signal and less noise. Here's more from Cafardo:

  • For the Diamondbacks, the Trumbo acquisition was about adding power, which is in short supply these days. "Just looking at the West, and looking at the National League and looking at the free agent market going forward, I just don’t know where you’re going to find power," says GM Kevin Towers.
  • If the Red Sox re-sign Stephen Drew, that would bump Xander Bogaerts to third base and make Will Middlebrooks a trade candidate. The Marlins, who are looking for a third baseman, would likely be interested.
  • Even after a report that the Orioles had interest in A.J. Burnett and had been in touch with his agent, the Pirates feel Burnett doesn't want to play for any other team. "There’s no reason for [Burnett] not to be back," says a Pirates official.
  • Four teams have offered two-year deals to free agent Bronson Arroyo, but Arroyo is holding out for a three-year deal, or maybe a two-year deal with a vesting option.
  • There doesn't appear to be a particularly robust market for Kendrys Morales, with the Mariners adding Corey Hart and Logan Morrison and the Angels likely to sign Raul Ibanez. The Orioles might be one possibility, but not at Morales' price.

D-Backs Acquire Trumbo In Three-Team Deal With Angels, White Sox

The biggest trade from this week's Winter Meetings in Orlando is now complete. The Diamondbacks officially announced that they have acquired Mark Trumbo and minor league right-hander A.J. Schugel from the Angels and minor league outfielder Brandon Jacobs from the White Sox in a three-team deal. Arizona will send center fielder Adam Eaton to the White Sox and left-hander Tyler Skaggs to the Angels. The White Sox will also send left-hander Hector Santiago to the Angels.

Trumbo-Mark

The Diamondbacks were set on acquiring either Trumbo or Shin-Soo Choo at the Winter Meetings, according to earlier reports. Trumbo (pictured) will slot into the outfield for the D-Backs, which isn't a perfect fit for Arizona given his defensive shortcomings there. Arizona will be looking for Trumbo's power to outweigh his shaky defense; he's belted 66 home runs over the past two seasons, posting a .250/.305/.471 batting line.

In 992 innings as an outfielder throughout his career, Trumbo has a -7.0 UZR/150. While his walk rate climbed to a career-best eight percent in 2013, that's still below the league average, and it came along with a career-worst 27.1 percent strikeout rate. Still, he should provide a great deal of power to a D-Backs outfield that finished last in the Majors in home runs in 2013. In fact, Trumbo's mark of 34 homers alone ties the collective mark posted by Arizona outfielders last season. Trumbo projects to earn $4.7MM via arbitration this offseason and can be controlled through the 2016 campain.

The White Sox have stated a desire to get younger and to add left-handed bats to their lineup, and the acquisition of Eaton will do just that. Formerly one of baseball's top prospects, the 25-year-old Eaton missed more than half of the 2013 season after opening the year on the DL with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left (throwing) elbow.

In 380 career MLB plate apparances, Eaton is a .254/.332/.373 hitter with five homers and seven stolen bases. He's batted .365/.441/.522 with eight homers and 38 steals in 602 career plate appearances at the Triple-A level. Prior to the 2013 season, Baseball America ranked Eaton as Arizona's No. 4 prospect, noting that he'd made enough defensive strides to convince scouts that he is an everyday big league center fielder with double-digit home run pop, plus speed and a strong, accurate throwing arm. Should he pan out, Eaton could provide the White Sox with their center fielder of the future; he's controllable through the 2018 season.

The Angels have been in the market for young, controllable pitchers, and this trade allows them to fill out their rotation with a pair of promising young left-handers. This is the second time that GM Jerry Dipoto has acquired Skaggs. Dipoto acquired Skaggs for the D-Backs from the Angels in a trade for Dan Haren when he was Arizona's interim GM.

Skaggs appeared in the Top 15 of BA's Top 100 list prior to the 2012 and 2013 seasons but has struggled in his brief big league experience to date. Still just 22, he has a 5.43 ERA with 7.5 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 40 percent ground-ball rate in 68 Major League innings. He has a 4.02 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 156 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level — all of which have come with him being one of the league's youngest pitchers. Skaggs won't be eligible for arbitration until at least 2016 and can be controlled through the 2019 campaign if he's in the Majors from here on out.

Santiago, who turns 26 next week, has a career 3.41 ERA with 8.7 K/9, 4.5 BB/9 and a 37.5 percent ground-ball rate in 224 2/3 big league innings. He's not arbitration eligible until next winter and can be controlled through the 2017 campaign. An extreme fly-ball pitcher, Santiago should enjoy Mike Trout playing behind him in center field.

Schugel dealt with blisters early in the season and saw a foot injury cut his season short in July after he posted a 7.05 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 89 1/3 innings at Triple-A Salt Lake. However, he posted a 2.89 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 140 innings at Double-A when he was healthy in 2012.

Baseball America ranked Schugel 12th among Angels prospects prior to 2013, noting that a strong fastball/changeup combo should allow him to become a back-of-the-rotation starter despite a questionable breaking pitch. BA also noted that Schugel is an excellent athlete that fields his position well.

Jacobs, 23, came to the White Sox from the Red Sox in the Matt Thornton deal in July. The outfielder hit .244/.320/.407 for three teams at Class-A Advanced and Double-A in 2013. He was eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, as was Schugel, which is why the pair had to technically be included as players to be named later.

ESPN's Keith Law was the first to report the three-team framework (on Twitter), and MLB.com's Steve Gilbert added that the D-Backs would receive two prospects as well (Twitter link). Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweeted that the trade was agreed to (Twitter links). Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona tweeted that the D-Backs would receive Schugel from the Angels, and John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR in Phoenix was first to suggest that Jacobs would be the PTBNL coming from Chicago.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Towers, DiPoto, Hahn Discuss Trumbo Deal

In a joint press conference this afternoon, general managers Kevin Towers of the Diamondbacks, Jerry Dipoto of the Angels, and Rick Hahn of the White Sox discussed the three-way trade that sent Mark Trumbo from Los Angeles to Arizona. 

Towers said that he had been discussing center fielder Adam Eaton with Hahn for some time, but that the ultimate three-party deal "came together rather quick." Confirming that Trumbo will be the club's regular left fielder, Towers acknowledged that it "will be difficult" for him to transition to full-time outfield play after spending most of his time last year at first base. But Towers expressed confidence that Trumbo would eventually defend in left at a league-average level.

Looking ahead, Towers said that the club still definitely wants to add a "front-of-the-rotation starter." Though the club parted with valuable youngsters in today's trade, he said that he still believes Arizona has sufficient minor league pitching from which to deal. Towers said his preference, however, would be to add an arm via free agency.

Meanwhile, Dipoto explained that his club's interest in the trade was acquiring young, controllable starters. Hector Santiago, said Dipoto, had shown he can succeed at the major league level. As for Tyler Skaggs, who came via Arizona, Dipoto explained that his youth and high upside trumped his underwhelming results in limited MLB action. "The next step is imminent for him," said Dipoto. While Dipoto said that both hurlers are expected to have every opportunity to slot into the Angels rotation, he indicated that there could be further additions.

Turning to the White Sox' end of the deal, Hahn said that he expects Eaton to be a solid presence atop the lineup for years to come. Calling Eaton a "dirtbag baseball player" who had stood near the top of the club's "target list" for some time, Hahn said his expectation is that the 25-year-old will man center for Chicago. 

With Eaton displacing Alejandro De Aza up the middle, Hahn acknowledged that De Aza or fellow corner outfielder Dayan Viciedo could be dealt. Saying he expects to continue to "receive calls on both of those players," Hahn did note that the two could form a platoon if demand is insufficient.


D-Backs, ChiSox, Angels Optimistic About Three-Team Deal

12:33pm: The White Sox have asked the Halos about Hank Conger this winter, but he's not believed to be in play on this trade, tweets Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times.

12:22pm: The deal is "getting pretty close," a source tells MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (Twitter link). Though he was discussed in a separate trade with the White Sox and Angels, Kendrick is not part of this deal, Gonzalez adds.

12:10pm: USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that the three teams are optimistic about their chances of finalizing the trade (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic agrees with Gilbert's report from below, noting that Arizona would receive one prospect from the Angels and one from the Sox (also on Twitter).

11:38am: MLB.com's Steve Gilbert tweets that Arizona would receive a pair of good prospects in addition to Trumbo.

11:27am: Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago (via Twitter) hears that the talks are definitely ongoing but are still in the preliminary phases. The three sides are making some progress but a deal isn't close at this time, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register agrees (on Twitter).

11:02am: The Angels tried to land Santiago from the White Sox in talks for Howie Kendrick, tweets Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, but they're now focused on getting him as part of this three-team deal.

10:50am: ESPN's Keith Law reports (via Twitter) that the Mark Trumbo talks between the Diamondbacks and Angels have expanded to include the White Sox, with a potential framework sending Adam Eaton to Chicago and Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs to the Angels.

Parting with Skaggs and Eaton would be a steep price to pay in order to play Trumbo out of position at a corner outfield spot, but reports have indicated that the D-Backs are "determined" to leave Orlando with either Trumbo or Shin-Soo Choo in tow, and the financial commitment required to add Choo would be significant. Adding Skaggs and Santiago would be a tremendous win for Angels GM Jerry Dipoto, who has been in the market for controllable young starters for months.


D-Backs Determined To Leave Orlando With Choo Or Trumbo

10:36am: Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register hears that there is "zero" chance the D-Backs would part with both Cahill and Skaggs to land Trumbo (Twitter link).

9:31am: One executive that spoke with the Diamondbacks came away with the impression that Arizona is getting Choo, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.

9:25am: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports (via Twitter) that one potential Trumbo package that has been discussed would send both Cahill and Skaggs to the Angels, which would seem to be a tremendous haul for the right-handed slugger.

9:22am: The Diamondbacks are "determined" to leave the Winter Meetings with Shin-Soo Choo or Mark Trumbo, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). According to Sherman, Choo's asking price is said to be in the range of Carl Crawford's seven-year, $142MM contract, and the Rangers remain in the mix. One thing working in Arizona's favor in regards to Choo is that the outfielder currently resides in Buckeye, Ariz., tweets MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.

The Diamondbacks emerged as players for Choo yesterday and are said to be involved in trade talks for Trumbo as well. Reportedly, names like Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Cahill have been discussed with the Angels in talks for Trumbo, who hit 34 homers last season but is seen as a below-average defender in the outfield and comes with OBP issues.


“Good Chance” Angels Trade Trumbo During Meetings

11:52am: The Angels' talks with Arizona are focusing more on Skaggs than Cahill, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

11:18pm: There's a "good chance" the Angels end up moving Trumbo during this week's winter meetings, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Gonzalez adds that while the D-Backs are one possibility, the Angels are engaged in talks with many clubs.

7:28pm: In their talks with the D-Backs, the Angels are primarily focused on Skaggs and Trevor Cahill, says Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).

6:12pm: There are 12 teams in the mix for Trumbo, according to Heyman (Twitter link), who suggests that there could be a fit with the Diamondbacks. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports (via Twitter) that the Angels aren't interested in trading Trumbo for Tyler Skaggs straight up, while Heyman notes that Arizona doesn't want to move Patrick Corbin or Wade Miley.

Meanwhile, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com says the Angels have put other talks to the backburner as they focus on Trumbo. The Royals are also a possibile trade partner, according to Stark (Twitter link).

5:27pm: The odds of the Angels dealing Trumbo are increasing, according to Rosenthal (via Twitter). Rosenthal says that the Angels are becoming more open to the idea, while the Diamondbacks are pushing and other teams are improving their offers.

4:31pm: Angels GM Jerry Dipoto confirmed that there has been "fairly heavy traffic" on Trumbo, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange Country Register.

4:14pm: The Angels have spoken to the Diamondbacks about Arizona's pitching, though it's not clear whether Trumbo has been in play in those talks, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

3:04pm: The Diamondbacks have been said to be looking at starting pitching, but Rosenthal tweets that they could also join the mix in talks for Trumbo. As Rosenthal notes, Arizona has plenty of young pitching to tempt the Angels.

11:20am: Sources have indicated to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Mark Trumbo is "in play" as the Angels discuss trades with other teams (Twitter link). Rosenthal notes that the Angels would hate to lose Trumbo but also recognize that he may be the best trade chip they have.

Set to turn 28 in January, Trumbo once again posted big-time power numbers in 2013. The right-handed swinger slugged a career-high 34 home runs and knocked in a career-best 100 runs as well. However, he batted just .234 with a .294 on-base percentage, displaying a continued difficulty in getting on base. He's turned himself into a solid first baseman, posting plus marks in both UZR and Defensive Runs Saved in recent years. His defense at an outfield corner has been subpar throughout his career, making it seem likely that teams looking to put him in right or left field wouldn't be willing to surrender as much talent.

Eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason, Trumbo is projected by MLBTR's Matt Swartz to earn $4.7MM in 2014. He can be controlled through the 2016 season via the arbitration process. Recently, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange Country Register noted that a trade of Trumbo is unlikely.


Stark Previews Winter Meetings

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark is out with a Winter Meetings preview, noting that the frenzy of signings and trades this week threatens to overshadow an event that's traditionally one of the hot stove's busiest periods. Twenty teams either swapped a player or agreed to terms with a free agent between Monday afternoon and Tuesday night, according to ESPN's count. "I don't ever remember a day like Tuesday ever," an AL official commented. "Not just [during] the week before the Winter Meetings. Ever." Nevertheless, with several top names remaining unsigned and rumors of a David Price trade hanging in the air, Stark notes that there's plenty of hot stove left. Here's a run-through of his Winter Meetings preview, which includes a survey of 17 big league executives (conducted before the Carlos Beltran and Robinson Cano signings):

  • Some believe Scott Boras will bide his time with Shin-Soo Choo following how quickly a deal for Jacoby Ellsbury came together with the Yankees, but there's another group that believes the superagent wants to show new rival Jay Z that he can be decisive. Around half of execs polled said they think Choo could sign during the Winter Meetings, or immediately afterward. All speculated he'll land with either the Rangers, Mariners or Tigers, though Detroit is indicating they're not involved.
  • The market for starting pitching has been slow to develop because of uncertainty surrounding Masahiro Tanaka, as well as slow-developing rumors for Price and Jeff Samardzija, leaving Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez still on the board. Officials polled varied widely in their predictions for when the two will sign, though many see Garza heading to the Yankees or the Orioles. Draft pick compensation is an issue with Jimenez, who doesn't have a consistent track record.
  • Kendrys Morales isn't expected to sign soon, with many NL clubs passing on the slugger because there's a perception that he'll need to DH. "I think he has all the makings of this year's Kyle Lohse," one exec commented. Draft pick compensation is also an issue. "You should never forget how many teams don't want to give up those draft picks," one exec commented.
  • Samardzija was seen as the player most likely to be traded during the Meetings among players who are still on the market, though his three votes only slightly surpassed Mark Trumbo's two. Many believe, however, that Samardzija could remain a Cub until later in the winter, or even until the summer trade deadline in July. One exec said he thinks the Angels were more willing to move Trumbo a month ago than they are currently.
  • Carlos Beltran was by far seen as the most likely player to sign during the Meetings, though as that's already happened, the title is now held by Choo.
  • While the Dodgers, Rangers, Mariners, Angels, Braves, Diamondbacks and Padres all appear to be interested in trading for Price, the group of teams that are actually able to consummate a deal could be much smaller. Rays GM Andrew Friedman appears to be taking his time allowing the market to develop. "Andrew is looking to make the Herschel Walker trade," a source tells Stark, referring to the 1989 NFL trade that involved 18 players and draft picks.