MLB: The AZ Diamondbacks Acquire a Power-Hitter
When last season’s disappointing 81-81 season came to an end, the Arizona Diamondbacks front office said that during this offseason one of their top necessities was to acquire a power hitter, preferably by trade. Kevin Towers made it clear he wanted to bring more power into the lineup.
On Tuesday they made a trade to accomplish that objective. The Diamondbacks acquired First baseman/DH and now new-left fielder Mark Trumbo and a player to be named from the Angels, in a three-team deal. The Chicago White Sox were the third team involved. Fan favorite Adam Eaton was sent to the White Sox for a player to be named and promising pitcher Tyler Skaggs was sent back to the Angels. Skaggs started his career in the Angels organization.
Later in the day the other players were confirmed as outfielder Brandon Jacobs from the White Sox and pitcher A.J. Schugel. Schugel, who went to Central Arizona College in Coolidge, came over from the Angels.
What is not clear to me is why the Diamondbacks gave up so much for a player with Trumbo’s limitations. It is hard to believe that the Diamondbacks traded a promising, young pitching prospect and a potential solid leadoff hitter for a guy that has a large strikeout total, has trouble hitting with runners in scoring position, and is suspect in the outfield.
He posted a career-low batting average of .234 last season, ranking fifth in the American League (AL) in total strikeouts with 184. His strikeouts have gone up each of the last three years and as a Diamondbacks fan that does not bode well for me for the 2014 season. Trumbo’s career numbers with runners in scoring position are nothing to be proud of either. He has a .252 average (.214 with one out and .228 with two outs). We already know what a challenge it was for the Diamondbacks to come through with runners in scoring position the last two years.
Trumbo will be counted on immediately to help the Diamondbacks’ lineup, hopefully creating a potent one-two punch with first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. He is expected to start in left field on opening day. He has played mostly first base and DH when he was with the Angels. He did play 200+ innings in the outfield last season with 50 put outs, one assist, and one error. His arm is considered average and his speed is below average.
He will get plenty of coaching help during spring training to improve his defense and arm, but A J Pollack, who will be the starting center fielder, will have to make sure to get over to help out Trumbo on a regular basis.
Trumbo was popular among the Angel fans because he grew up near Anaheim and was an Angels’ fan himself. Sometimes when you play in front of your home-town fans you can try too hard’ so maybe a change will be good for him. He was also well respected in Angels’ clubhouse.
There is some good news from the Diamondbacks’ standpoint; they got their power bat, of which they were in desperate need. Trumbo’s offensive numbers should be better at Chase Field because it is a hitter-friendly ballpark. He currently has 95 homeruns in 460 career games at the MLB level and those numbers came in a ball-park that is considered a pitcher friendly park. Last year the Diamondbacks hit 130 homeruns, which was 11th in the National League and 68 of those came at Chase Field.
To sum it up, I think the Diamondbacks gave up too much for an AL power hitter, who has difficulty getting on base and is a less-than-average defensive player; but it is possible that he will exceed all expectations and have an outstanding career as an Arizona Diamondback.
It has taking me some time to come to terms with this trade, but I do know that in order to acquire talent you must trade talent.
Less than 75 days until 2014 Spring Training begins for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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