Mark Trumbo Rumors
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.
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.
Matt Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, has never attended the Winter Meetings, but he will this winter as he has a "strong feeling" that his client could get moved, writes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. "This is the first time we've experienced this," Stewart said. "This is the first time we've heard it this much, and the first time we really believe something could happen." The Dodgers, of course, have a surplus of outfielders and Kemp is drawing interest from mutliple clubs. More from the NL West..
- The Diamondbacks still want a corner outfielder after missing out on Carlos Beltran and have their sights set on the Angels' Mark Trumbo, among others, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The D'Backs have plenty of pitching depth to get a power outfield bat with the likes of Tyler Skaggs, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy, and Wade Miley (link).
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says he has made a few different offers to free agent third baseman Juan Uribe but hasn't had much dialogue lately because they're waiting for his answer, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- Meanwhile, Colletti says that he won't "sell off an outfielder" just for the sake of doing it, especially with the list of free agent outfielders over the next couple of winters being a little underwhelming, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
- Free agent outfielder Michael Morse is still on the Giants' radar, but the club believes its best route to landing a left fielder is via trade, tweets Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. While GM Brian Sabean is actively trying to lower expectations for a trade to take place, Schulman hears he has been active on the phones (link). Even though Sabean isn't the type to make a trade just for the heck of it, Schulman wouldn't be surprised to see a deal take place at the meetings (link).
In today's conference call to announce Tony Clark as the new executive director of the MLBPA, free agent Curtis Granderson didn't give reporters, including Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter), the impression that they are right on the cusp of a deal with the Mets. "We ate a nice meal and it was great to enjoy some salmon … It was kind of what you could expect," said the outfielder. Here's more from around baseball..
- While the Red Sox have been engaged in talks with free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, the team is unlikely to pursue a three-year deal for the 36-year-old, an industry source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The rival Yankees also won't go to three years, reportedly.
- The Angels are unlikely to trade Mark Trumbo, according to jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (on Twitter). The Halos believe that a fair return would be top notch young starting pitching for the slugger and that deal doesn't exist. The Angels also aren't sure if they can get a good enough starter in exchange for Howie Kendrick, which could leave them to try and net two starters on the open market with limited money (link).
- The Yankees' $153MM deal for Jacoby Ellsbury is supposed to put the squeeze on Robinson Cano, but it could backfire, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- The Red Sox's offer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia topped out at two years for about $18MM, a source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The Yankees have signed right-hander Brian Gordon to a minor league deal, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (on Twitter).
- Ryan Webb was surprised to learn that he was non-tendered by the Marlins, writes Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.
- Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors (on Twitter) expected Luke Gregerson to fetch more than Seth Smith. The Padres and A's swapped the two in a one-for-one swap earlier today.
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe takes a closer look at the Red Sox's deal for A.J. Pierzynski.
After making strong plays for free agents Jose Dariel Abreu, Brian McCann, and Carlos Ruiz, the Rockies are searching hard for impact bat and relief help. The Rockies have talked with the Angels about slugger Mark Trumbo and called the Royals about their surplus of relievers, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
Trumbo, of course, will be hard to pry away and has drawn interest from several clubs in need of a power bat. A deal with KC might be easier to swing, writes Renck, as Colorado's main trade piece, center fielder Dexter Fowler, could be a fit in Kansas City. Opposing execs have said for weeks that the Rockies are open to trading Fowler and they've already talked with Carlos Gonzalez about playing in center if necessary.
Royals relievers Aaron Crow and Tim Collins are reportedly "very available" via trade, and Wade Davis could be a trade candidate after the signing of free agent starter Jason Vargas. Both Crow and Collins are headed into the first year of arbitration eligibility and MLBTRs Matt Swartz projects them to earn $1.9MM and $1MM, respectively. Davis will make $4.8MM in 2014 and has three club options for 2015 through 2017. Renck adds that the Rockies attempted to acquire Davis from the Rays multiple times prior to his inclusion in last winter's James Shields-Wil Myers blockbuster.
Fowler was hampered by multiple hand injuries in 2013 and he started just three games in September because of a knee injury. Fowler, who will make $7.35MM this season, posted a .263/.369/.407 slash line in 2013.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Mark Trumbo is the Angels' most wanted player via trade, but the Halos are very reluctant to trade him, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. "He fits us," said someone connected to the Angels. Meanwhile, Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Peter Bourjos and Chris Iannetta also are getting a fair number of trade inquiries, and they could move one of them. Here's more of Heyman's latest..
- One club with interest in Jacoby Ellsbury says that agent Scott Boras has set Carl Crawford's $142MM contract as a benchmark in discussions, Heyman writes. One rival GM who isn't in on Ellsbury argued that Crawford was better and more durable at the time of his deal.
- The Astros, Orioles, Rays, Brewers and Rockies all have checked in on Mets first baseman Ike Davis, despite his awful 2013 campaign, according to Heyman. In the case of Milwaukee, however, they may prefer re-signing Corey Hart instead.
- Heyman suggests that the Marlins and Cubs could discuss a swap of top prospects and officials from both sides agree that they could have something to discuss. The Cubs have high-end position prospects such as Kris Bryant (who may be untouchable), Javier Baez, and Albert Almora, while Miami has a stockpile of strong young arms.
- We learned last week that Ervin Santana's asking price was $100MM and today Heyman hears that agents Bean Stringfellow, Joe White, and Jay Alou are seeking a five-year, $112MM pact. The agents are going around with a book of arguments to support their case, including some comparisons to Dodgers star pitcher Zack Greinke.
- The A's have joined the fray for free agent Nelson Cruz, but the small-market club could run into problems when it comes to dollars and years, Heyman writes. Oakland has been looking for a right-handed-hitting outfielder after declining to pick up the option on Chris Young, but Cruz would be a much bigger splash than anyone anticipated.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe offers up a primer for this week's GM Meetings. Cafardo's first rule for the meetings is to never believe a GM when he says that a player will not be traded. New Marlins GM Dan Jennings has said that Giancarlo Stanton won't be moved, but everyone has a price. Cafardo also cautions not to buy into the notion that the Tigers won't find a way to enhance the team and also keep Max Scherzer after next season. Here's more from today's column..
- If the Red Sox don’t re-sign Mike Napoli, the 27-year-old Mark Trumbo will be on their list of players to pursue. Trumbo, who would come at half Napoli’s price, is under club control until after the 2016 season and boasts tremendous right-handed power. The Angels could use a third baseman and a pitcher and Cafardo wonders if Will Middlebrooks and Felix Doubront might suit them. The Pirates and Rays could also be fits for the Halos slugger.
- One or both of Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp could be dealt this offseason thanks to the Dodgers' surplus. The Mets, Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, and Blue Jays are among the clubs that could have interest.
- The Phillies are among the clubs that have shown interest in Bronson Arroyo, but no offer has been made just yet. The Giants and Twins have also been reported to have interest in the durable veteran, but none of the interested teams have put an offer on the table just yet.
- While the Blue Jays have other priorities, they’ll also dip into the outfield market if they feel Melky Cabrera can’t give them what they expected. Cabrera recently had a spinal tumor that was causing him leg pain removed.
- Despite having a glut of pitchers, the Red Sox are still high on Tim Hudson. To make room for the 38-year-old, the Red Sox could move Jake Peavy or Ryan Dempster if they have to. However, teams seem more interested in John Lackey since he'll earn the minimum salary in 2015. A clause in Lackey's contract called for him to get the minimum in '15 if he underwent Tommy.John surgery.
- The Red Sox probably won't offer more than a couple of years to retain Stephen Drew with his market rapidly expanding. The Yankees could be a fit with Derek Jeter being in the final year of his contract and likely to see more DH time.
- A few GMs are already lamenting the cost of free agent pitching with possible $80MM-$100MM price tags on the likes of Ervin Santana and Ricky Nolasco. That's why the Yankees' pursuit of Masahiro Tanaka, a potential No. 2 starter, makes more sense than paying big bucks for a No. 3 or 4 type.
- The Blue Jays picked up Adam Lind's option, but don't be surprised if Toronto tries to move him.
Free agents are not allowed to negotiate with all 30 MLB clubs until 11:01 pm (CT) Monday, but agent Scott Boras says his phone was ringing off the hook regarding Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew within hours of the Red Sox winning the World Series, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Yankees will be the most interesting team during free agency, according to Cafardo, but will be hamstrung until a decision is made on Alex Rodriguez's appeal. Cafardo also lists the Phillies, Tigers, Giants, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Rangers as active participants in the free agent market. In other tidbits from his Sunday Baseball Notes column:
- Both LA teams are interested in acquiring David Price from the Rays. The Angels may have a slight edge because they can put together package with bats like Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick while the Dodgers have an overstocked rotation.
- Joe Nathan should be of interest to both the Tigers and Yankees even though the latter seems to have settled on David Robertson as Mariano Rivera's replacement.
- There may be no better time for the Red Sox to trade John Lackey than right now.
- The Red Sox may consider re-signing Joel Hanrahan after he recovers from Tommy John surgery to provide protection for incumbent closer Koji Uehara.
- Franklin Gutierrez, whose $7.5MM club option was declined by the Mariners, is an intriguing player who can still perform at a high level when healthy. Staying healthy has been an issue for Gutierrez with six trips to the disabled list in the last four years.
- Johan Santana, whose $25MM club option was declined by the Mets, is another pretty good low-cost gamble.
The Padres have interest in Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports (on Twitter). The Angels are known to be interested in acquiring pitching for Trumbo, however, and Shaikin notes that San Diego might not be the best match -- their collection of young pitching includes several players (Cory Luebke, Joe Wieland, Casey Kelly) who are in various stages of recovery from Tommy John surgery.
Yonder Alonso hit .281/.341/.368 as the Padres' primary first baseman in 2013. Trumbo would likely be an upgrade, although it remains to be seen how his power-dependent game would play in pitcher-friendly PETCO Park. Trumbo appears set to make about $4.7MM in 2014, his first year of arbitration eligibility.
The Angels' desire for young, controllable pitching is no secret, and ESPN's Buster Olney reports that they've indicated to other teams a willingness to trade center fielder Peter Bourjos or first baseman Mark Trumbo to acquire such talent (Twitter link).
Bourjos and Trumbo both have three years of team control remaining, and each is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects that Bourjos, who turns 27 in March, will earn $1.1MM in 2014. Trumbo, set to turn 28 in January, is projected by Swartz to see his salary jump to $4.7MM.
The salary gap between the two is sizable due to the fact that arbitration rewards Trumbo's power-oriented game while overlooking Bourjos' speed- and defense-oriented game. In terms of WAR, both Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference feel that Bourjos has actually been more valuable through 354 big league games than Trumbo has through 450. Bourjos has been worth 9.0 fWAR and 8.4 rWAR to Trumbo's 6.6 fWAR and 7.6 rWAR.
Trumbo has shown more durability than Bourjos, appearing in at least 144 games in each of the past three seasons and slashing .251/.300/.473 with 95 home runs in that time. On-base percentage is unlikely to ever be one of his strong points, but his right-handed power is among the game's best, and he's been a solid defender at first base by both UZR and DRS.
Pointing out Bourjos' lack of games played isn't entirely fair, given that the majority of the time he's spent on the disabled list has come as a result of being hit by a pitch on the wrist two different times. He does have a pair of hamstring-related DL stints as well, though the hamstring issues have amounted to less time on the shelf than his wrist woes. Over the past three seasons, Bourjos is hitting .262/.321/.401 (104 OPS+). Since his promotion to the Majors, he's tied with Michael Bourn for second among center fielders in defensive value added, according to Fangraphs, trailing only Carlos Gomez for the league lead.
The free agent market offers little in the way of reliable, right-handed power at first base, with Mike Napoli representing the best option. Corey Hart belongs in that conversation too, but he was unable to take the field in 2013 after surgery on both knees. Likewise, the center field market is bleak beyond one high-priced star and another coming off an inury-riddled season. Jacoby Ellsbury may sign the second-biggest contract of the offseason, and Curtis Granderson was hit by a pair of pitches that resulted in a pair of broken bones and nearly 100 games on the DL. With little help on the free agent market, three years of Bourjos or Trumbo will be highly desirable alternatives that should net at least one solid young arm, should the Angels pull the trigger on a deal.
The Angels are also said to be willing to trade Howie Kendrick this offseason, and Erick Aybar was discussed at this year's trade deadline, so he could be on the block as well. Also on the trade front, the Blue Jays are interested in Hank Conger or Chris Iannetta. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto figures to be in for a busy offseason and will have plenty of avenues to explore in order to add the young pitching he's looking to acquire.