Aug. 29: Trumbo will indeed undergo season-ending surgery, Showalter told reporters Wednesday (Twitter link via Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun). Trumbo received opinions from the Orioles’ medical staff and Dr. James Andrews, among others, before ultimately electing to go under the knife.
Aug. 24: Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo is weighing knee surgery that would end his season. Indeed, he indicated today that he’s leaning toward undergoing a procedure, as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com was among those to tweet.
While it seems increasingly likely that Trumbo will have the work done, that has still yet to be decided conclusively. He’s still planning to receive further medical opinions and manager Buck Showalter suggested there’s still some possibility that he’ll suit up this year, as Dan Connolly of The Athletic reports on Twitter.
It’s still not fully clear just what the issue is, or what kind of procedure is under consideration, but Trumbo is said to have been dealing with issues in the joint all year long. Presumably, the hope is to avoid any further damage and to give him a head start on an offseason recovery program.
The balky knee hasn’t stopped Trumbo from turning in a productive run at the plate in August. On the year, he’s carrying a solid .261/.313/.452 slash with 17 home runs, though that’s not really the level of output Trumbo needs to be a productive player given his deficiencies in other areas.
The knee troubles, perhaps, are showing up primarily in the field. The 32-year-old has never been regarded as a very good fielder, of course. But his metrics reached a new low this season. In just 152 1/3 innings in right field, Trumbo ran up -7 defensive runs saved and graded at -31.1 UZR/150. Understandably, the Orioles have preferred to utilize him as a DH.
Since signing a three-year, $37.5MM contract to return to Baltimore in the 2016-17 offseason, Trumbo has played below replacement level in the aggregate. He’s owed hefty $13.5MM for 2019. While partial no-trade protection presents one barrier to a deal, the larger issue for the rebuilding O’s is that few other teams are likely to have much interest in taking on any significant portion of that salary. These health issues don’t help. Whether or not surgery is required, it seems all but certain that the Orioles will have to hope that Trumbo has a productive run to open the 2019 season and can be flipped at some point next summer.