The Orioles have “made a couple offers to” free agent slugger Mark Trumbo, Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette told reporters (including Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun and MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko), though despite ongoing talks, an agreement has yet to be reached. “We’ve had several conversations with Mark Trumbo, but we haven’t been able to cinch a deal with him….We’ve had a dialogue going with them for several weeks,” Duquette said.
Though there was mutual interest in a continued relationship between the two sides prior to the end of the season, there hasn’t been much news about Trumbo and Orioles until now. Duquette said during the GM Meetings that the club was looking to prioritize defense and add a left-handed hitting outfielder, neither of which describe what Trumbo brings to the table. Duquette cited outfield defense again today, though Trumbo could also fill Baltimore’s hole at designated hitter. As I noted in my free agent profile of Trumbo, his value could greatly improve if a team uses him in a first base/DH role rather than as a corner outfielder.
Right field is the specific need for the O’s, as Duquette said Hyun Soo Kim and Joey Rickard could handle left field in a platoon and the team hasn’t put much thought into moving Chris Davis from first base into right. As for other internal options, Duquette also cited youngster Trey Mancini as having the hitting potential to possibly handle regular DH duty.
Trumbo has received some interest from the Rockies this winter, though Colorado would have to give up a hefty draft pick price (the 11th overall selection in next year’s draft) to sign Trumbo, who rejected the Orioles’ qualifying offer. That same QO status is a consideration for the O’s as well as they explore re-signing Trumbo, Duquette noted, as is the changing nature of the qualifying offer system in future years under the new collective bargaining agreement.
Aside from Trumbo, Duquette also discussed such topics as the team’s needs in right field, catcher (either as a starter or platoon partner with Caleb Joseph) and the potential use of the upcoming Rule 5 draft to procure more young talent.
Duquette also denied a rumor about an extension between Manny Machado and the Orioles, saying that the two sides hadn’t had any talks. Most teams wait until after the bulk of the offseason work is complete before entering into extension negotiations, so we might not hear about anything with Machado until Spring Training at the earliest. The superstar third baseman is projected by MLBTR to earn $11.2MM in arbitration next season, and the O’s control Machado through the 2018 campaign. With Machado hitting the open market at age 26, the sky is the limit for the size of a potential extension — Baltimore would likely require something north of a $250MM guarantee.
In a radio appearance with Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link), the executive VP also commented on the attention being drawn by closer Zach Britton. “There’s a lot of interest in Zach Britton. Personally, I like Zach Britton on our club, but there are teams interested,” Duquette said. Britton is also due for a hefty arbitration payday ($11.4MM) in the wake of his excellent 2016 season, and there has been speculation that the O’s could sell high on Britton now given the large demand for relief pitching this offseason. One would think it would take a pretty significant offer to pry Britton out of Baltimore, as Duquette has said both here and in prior interviews that he wants to keep the closer.