For his latest notes column, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports spoke with Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart about the possibility of trading Mark Trumbo this summer — a notion which Stewart seems to strongly oppose. “We know there’s interest in Trumbo,” said Stewart. “…With all of our players, if you overwhelm me with something, I’ve got to listen. I guess most people would say the trade deadline is where we’ll find the best value. But at this moment, Mark Trumbo is my guy. He gives us something in our lineup that none of our other guys do other than Goldschmidt – a guy who can hit the ball out of the ballpark.” However, as Rosenthal points out, Trumbo is controllable only for one season beyond the 2015 campaign and will be bringing big power numbers to his final arbitration case just one year after landing a $6.9MM salary. Trumbo, hitting .273/.314/.533 with nine homers, will undoubtedly be expensive. And, the team has Jake Lamb nearing a return from the DL, and his return to third base would push Yasmany Tomas to the outfield. A trade does seem like something that the D-Backs will have to consider, though they could always move a different piece or option Tomas back to Triple-A. He’s hitting well, however, despite a lack of home runs.
A few more highlights from Rosenthal’s latest work…
- Randal Grichuk’s importance to the Cardinals is only growing, Rosenthal writes. While he’s the type of bat that could find himself mentioned in trade rumors as the team looks to upgrade potential areas of need, Rosenthal wonders if the team can afford to part with Grichuk. The aging Matt Holliday is under control through 2017, but Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos are free agents after 2016, and Stephen Piscotty isn’t hitting as well as they’d hoped in the minors. Jason Heyward will be a free agent at season’s end and hasn’t hit at the level the Cards had hoped when they acquired him.
- Rosenthal also spoke with Royals GM Dayton Moore about the team’s decision to sign Kendrys Morales to a two-year deal this winter. As he notes, many were surprised to see Morales land a $17MM commitment after a terrible 2014 season — you can include yours truly among those who did a double-take upon seeing the contract details — but Moore and his staff saw plenty to like in Morales. “Makeup, character, his desire to play, his professionalism, the way he competes in the batter’s box,” said Moore upon being asked what drew the Royals to Morales. Special assistants Luis Medina and Jim Fregosi Jr. were both high on Morales as well. Each felt that he still had good bat speed but faced a difficult challenge in jumping back into the Majors last June after a long layoff at a time when pitchers were peaking.
- Marlins first baseman Justin Bour looks at this point to be one of the better bargains in the history of the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, writes Rosenthal. As he notes, Baseball America has written that “almost no future big leaguers” come from the minor league portion of the Rule 5, which is used to fill out teams’ minor league affiliates more than anything else. Selecting Bour cost the Marlins $12K, but GM Michael Hill said the whole organization was high on him. “He played against us in the Southern League, so our staff liked him — as did our scouts that covered the league,” said Hill. Miami liked his peripherals and Double-A production.
- Athletics second baseman Ben Zobrist “might be the player most certain to be traded before July 31,” writes Rosenthal. Zobrist was recently tied to the Cubs, and while the team lacks an obvious everyday spot on its roster, the connection to manager Joe Maddon and the front office’s love of Zobrist may very well outweigh a perceived lack of everyday at-bats. I’d imagine Zobrist could get some time in left field and play all around the infield in an effort to get him five or six starts a week. Injuries may also pop up between now and the deadline.
- In a second article, Rosenthal looks at the upcoming class of free agent pitchers and notes that it might not be as great as many had expected. Doug Fister is on the DL and was below-average when healthy. Mat Latos has been injured and ineffective this season, and there have been recent injury concerns for both Johnny Cueto and Scott Kazmir. Rosenthal wonders how much more likely all of this makes Zack Greinke to opt out of his contract with the Dodgers, though I personally don’t think there was ever a great likelihood that a healthy Greinke would’ve gone any other route than opting out. Even at age 32, he can top the remaining three years and $71MM handily, even if it comes with a lesser average annual value.