6:20pm: Heyman now tweets that talks between the Mariners and Orioles regarding Trumbo are “heating up.”
1:56pm: Baltimore has real interest in Trumbo, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports (Twitter links). The club expects Seattle will tender Trumbo a contract, suggesting that the O’s would need to strike a trade to get him.
1:38pm: Colorado is no longer in active talks with Seattle on Trumbo, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports, though he adds that it’s possible a “new and separate round of talks” could be initiated in the future and says the Rockies could have interest in Trumbo as a free agent if he’s non-tendered. The bottom line, it appears, is that Colorado won’t be taking him on in advance of the non-tender deadline.
12:29pm: The Orioles are also “in the mix” for Trumbo, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Presumably, he could fill some of the power void left by departing free agents Chris Davis and Steve Pearce, though of course Baltimore is still said to be pursuing a return with the former.
8:17am: The Mariners are “trying hard” to find a taker for veteran outfielder/first baseman/DH Mark Trumbo with tomorrow’s non-tender deadline looming, according to reports from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (Twitter link). It’s previously been reported that many rival executives expect Trumbo to be dealt. The Rockies are among the clubs that have spoken with Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto about the slugger, per Rosenthal.
Trumbo, who’ll turn 30 before the season, is projected by MLBTR to take home a $9.1MM salary in his final season of arbitration eligibility. Though he’s generally continued to produce at better than the league-average rate on offense, and remains a significant power threat in particular, the right-handed hitter has not quite matched his early-career batting levels.
Considering his significant defensive limitations and hefty earning power, Trumbo’s trade value would not appear to be peaking at the moment. (That moment probably came when then-Angels GM Dipoto acquired promising young lefties Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago in exchange for Trumbo before the start of the 2014 season.) Trumbo has never cracked three wins above replacement in his career, whether by measure of Fangraphs or Baseball-Reference, and ended up as about a one to one-and-a-half win player last season.
Of course, teams may still be willing to roll the dice on Trumbo cranking his power output back up over a one-year commitment. He averaged over thirty home runs annually from 2011 through 2013, after all, which represents a fairly rare demonstration of playable pop. While he is roundly considered a sub-par defender in the corner outfield, his ability to play there at least increases his versatility. And Trumbo has rated rather well as a first baseman over the years.
Presumably, the Rockies would be interested in utilizing Trumbo at first. The club recently parted ways with incumbent Justin Morneau and designated another potential option in Wilin Rosario. Adding a veteran right-handed bat would allow Colorado to utilize the lefty-swinging Ben Paulsen in a reserve capacity.
The non-tender deadline represents an important market in any trade talks, if only because the Mariners may be unwilling to commit to paying Trumbo if a trade isn’t arranged. Of course, if interest is strong enough, Seattle could always strike a bargain after tendering him an arb contract. In the worst case, of course, clubs can cut bait on tendered players whil remaining responsible only for one-sixth of their salary, but that’s obviously not the preferred outcome — especially when that would represent such a significant sum.
It’s worth noting, also, that several other major power sources could be available. The Astros’ Chris Carter and Evan Gattis might be trade candidates, and we’ve heard every indication that the Pirates have interest in moving lefty slugger Pedro Alvarez. All of those players project to earn less than Trumbo, though Alvarez isn’t far behind at $8.1MM.