Mark Trumbo Rumors

D’Backs Notes: Roster, Gardenhire, Payroll, Coaches

The Diamondbacks more or less kicked off their offseason last week when they announced the hiring of Dave Stewart as general manager and De Jon Watson as vice president of baseball operations. That duo, along with chief baseball officer Tony La Russa, will be tasked with righting the ship for a team that lost an MLB-worst 98 games in 2014. Both Nick Piecoro and Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic have authored highly informative columns about how things will shake out this offseason after talking with that group. Here are some highlights from the Republic’s scribes, but each piece is full of lengthier quotes and is well worth reading in its entirety…

  • It’s tough to get a read on Stewart at this point, Piecoro writes, as the new GM expressed a desire to add a front-of-the-rotation arm but expressed hesitancy toward the free agent market and toward the trade market. Stewart appears to be more conservative than predecessor Kevin Towers on the trade front, according to Piecoro, and as for free agency, both Stewart and Watson doubted the team would have the resources to pursue Jon Lester, Max Scherzer or James Shields.
  • A trade of minor league talent to acquire an established pitcher doesn’t seem likely either, Piecoro writes. He quotes Stewart: “We’re going to try to maintain our minor-league system. We’ve got to start putting players back in our system. So the trade market, we’ll look at it if it makes sense, but it’s not likely.”
  • La Russa tells Piecoro that when it comes to a manager, the team is looking for a candidate that can “lead and inspire.” Previous managerial experience sounded important to La Russa, who stated, “…when you start managing the game, the more that you’ve pulled the trigger as a manager somewhere, there is an art to that.” Asked specifically about recently dismissed Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, La Russa said he is “sure” that Gardenhire’s name will come up during their search.
  • La Russa also touched on payroll, though his answer when asked for a specific figure was nebulous; payroll could fall anywhere between $80-110MM, he stated, depending on whether or not there is value to be found, per Piecoro.
  • Shifting to Buchanan’s piece, La Russa said that there may not be many changes to the team’s coaching staff beyond the firings of Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell. La Russa offered particularly high praise for first base coach Dave McKay, pitching coach Mike Harkey and bullpen coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. — the latter two of whom he feels handled Arizona’s slew of injuries well. Roving pitching instructor Dave Duncan, La Russa’s former pitching coach, will take on a bigger role in the organization but will not return to a coaching position.
  • Buchanan spoke with Stewart on the team’s outfield situation. While Towers had expressed the desire to add an outfield bat, Stewart sounds much less inclined to do so. “I think that A.J. (Pollock) in center, (David) Peralta played well, (Mark) Trumbo will probably be in the outfield mix with (Paul) Goldschmidt being at first base and being healthy again,” the GM explained to Buchanan. “It’s a pretty solid outfield, in my opinion.” La Russa spoke on the outfield as well, adding praise for Ender Inciarte.
  • The D’Backs have yet to address their desire to incorporate analytics into their front office, but Stewart again repeated that it is a priority for the team. “…We’ve got to go through the process of trying to get the right person in to take over that department for us,” he said.

NL West Notes: Trumbo, Pennington, Maybin

It’s been a highly disappointing debut season for Mark Trumbo in Arizona, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, who examines whether or not the D’Backs should explore the concept of trading Trumbo this season. Trumbo hasn’t hit much when healthy, and while he hasn’t been charged with any errors in left field, he also displayed poor range when playing there (prior to Paul Goldschmidt‘s injury). However, as Piecoro notes, much of that could be due to a stress fracture in Trumbo’s left foot — an injury that has limited him to just 79 games this year. Trumbo’s price tag could top $6MM in arbitration this season, and he may well be best-suited for an AL team or a team with an opening at first base. However, despite those factors, Piecoro concludes that the Snakes have traded too many players with their value at a low point in recent seasons, and moving Trumbo now would be an instance of history repeating itself. Instead, he feels that even if Arizona decides trading Trumbo is best, it should be done after he has a chance to rebuild some value in 2015.

Here’s more on the D’Backs and the NL West…

  • Cliff Pennington views himself as an everyday player and would like more at-bats, he tells Piecoro, but that doesn’t mean he’s unhappy with the Diamondbacks. Rather, he very much likes his teammates and the atmosphere in Phoenix. Still, given Arizona’s bulk of shortstop candidates — the team has Didi Gregorius, Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed as potential Major League options — Pennington’s future with the team is uncertain. As Piecoro notes, he’ll be due a raise on his $2.75MM salary in his final trip through arbitration. The Diamondbacks are looking to trim payroll, and Pennington could be considered expendable due to his loftier price tag. He’d have little trouble finding work in the event of a non-tender, Piecoro implies, and I’d imagine that there could be clubs in need of infield help that are intrigued by Pennington’s solid defense and his .253/.346/.358 batting line this season.
  • Cameron Maybin feels he can be more productive with everyday at-bats, he tells Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune, and he’ll play in the Dominican Winter League this offseason to get some reps after an injury- and suspension-shortened season. Maybin says his goal is to help the Padres in an everyday role, though his comments could imply that he feels he might be traded: “For me, I feel like if I’m healthy, I can be somebody’s really good everyday center fielder. …a big part of going to the Dominican Republic is making sure I’m ready for spring training so I can help whoever – mainly the Padres.” The 27-year-old is owed $16MM over the next two seasons, which makes him a difficult trade candidate given his lack of recent production. However, he’s a former No. 10 overall pick and top prospect, so teams may be willing to gamble on a rebound, particularly in a more hitter-friendly environment. Should he bounce back, his contract would actually turn into quite the asset, as he’s owed $7MM in 2015, $8MM in 2016 and has a $9MM option (1MM buyout) for 2017.

D’backs Unwilling To Trade Miley, Owings, Pollock, Others

The Diamondbacks have been receiving interest in left-hander Wade Miley, but are telling interested parties that he is unavailable, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Some had speculated that Miley could fetch a nice return as an under-the-radar trade candidate, but given his long-term control (through 2017), it appears that Arizona will likely resist the temptation.

Other players the D’Backs aren’t willing to move, according to Rosenthal (Twitter links), include Chris Owings, A.J. Pollock, Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley. Even veteran setup man Brad Ziegler is likely unavailable, per Rosenthal’s sources. Rosenthal offers a somewhat softer take on Mark Trumbo‘s availability, stating that a trade is “unlikely.” Trumbo is controlled through the 2016 season, Rosenthal notes, and Arizona would be hard-pressed to get near the same value they surrendered to acquire the slugger in the offseason.

All said, it is not surprising that Arizona would be unwilling to part with most of the players listed above, especially the younger players who are now (or are expected soon to be) playing at the MLB level. While Trumbo comes with just two years of control remaining, his long injury layoff will at least suppress his salary somewhat. And Arizona will surely be hesitant to move him for a cut rate after parting with both Adam Eaton and Tyler Skaggs for his rights over the offseason.

Ziegler’s inclusion, though, is a bit surprising at first glance. The righty has been consistently excellent, of course — and has even managed to increase his strikeout numbers this year to a far-and-away career best of 8.0 K/9 — but at 34 years of age he is probably not a long-term asset. (He is, however, under contract for next season at $5MM and is under control through a $5.5MM team option, which comes with a $1MM buyout, for 2016.)

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.



West Notes: Appel, Trumbo, Sandoval

The Astros have sent 2013 top overall pick Mark Appel to extended spring training, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports (Twitter links). The Astros say Appel isn’t injured, and they attribute his struggles to his adjustments to their tandem rotation system, but GM Jeff Luhnow calls Appel’s performance so far “a little unsettling.” Appel has posted a 6.23 ERA with 13 strikeouts and four walks so far with Class A+ Lancaster. Here are more notes from the West divisions.

  • Diamondbacks outfielder Mark Trumbo will be out six weeks with a fracture in his foot, Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona tweets. Trumbo’s absence is yet another blow for the Diamondbacks, who are off to a 7-18 start and will now be without one of their key offseason acquisitions (along with Bronson Arroyo and Addison Reed) for an extended period.
  • It appears that the price for free-agent-to-be Pablo Sandoval may have increased, and the Giants perhaps should have considered signing him for something close to the five years and $90MM he was reportedly seeking before, Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles writes. Given the lack of good third base options available either internally or on the 2014-15 free-agent market, signing Sandoval to an extension seems to be the Giants’ best bet, Brisbee argues.

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.