It’s possible we’ve seen the last of longtime major league slugger Mark Trumbo. Out all season on account of right knee problems, Trumbo has halted his rehab assignment because of “discomfort” and is now aiming for a September return, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. Regardless of whether he makes it back this year, Trumbo could elect to retire at season’s end, Kubatko writes.
Asked about his future, Trumbo said: “I don’t know. Probably going to have to see a little bit of improvement with the health. If the symptoms don’t subside, it will probably be pretty tough, but if I can get some relief and feel like I did a few years ago, I think it would be something worthwhile.”
We’re nearing the one-year anniversary of Trumbo’s September 2018 knee surgery. The joint troubled Trumbo throughout last season prior to the procedure, and it hasn’t responded as hoped since he went under the knife. Trumbo divided 2018 among three positions – designated hitter (his primary spot), right field and first base – and slashed .261/.313/.452 (107 wRC+) with 17 home runs in 358 plate appearances. That was a step up from the output Trumbo offered in 2017, the first season of a three-year, $37.5MM contract.
In 2016, Trumbo’s initial season as an Oriole, the former Angel, Diamondback and Mariner racked up a major league-best 47 homers. That convinced the Orioles to bring him back after a long standoff in free agency, but thanks to knee issues and unspectacular performance, the deal has been a failure for the O’s. Of course, the club has launched a full rebuild since re-upping Trumbo, so it wouldn’t make much difference in the standings if he were hitting at peak levels.
Should Trumbo attempt to continue his career past this season, it’s fair to wonder whether the soon-to-be 34-year-old will draw much of any interest on the open market. Even without his knee factored in, free agency hasn’t been kind of late to defensively limited 30-somethings. Trumbo was never an asset in the outfield even before injuries derailed his career, and it now seems probable he’ll be stuck at DH if he does stay in the game. With that in mind, it’ll likely be difficult for him to find work.