Winners and Losers of 3-Way Mark Trumbo Trade Between Angels, White Sox, D-Backs
In any trade, the ultimate goal is for each team involved to get a positive return on the deal. This normally isn't the case, as it's fairly easy to go back and decide which team "won" an actual trade. And some trades involve multiple teams, which makes it even more difficult to end up with a "win-win-win" situation.
Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers was involved in a pair of three-team trades last offseason, one of which (Heath Bell, Cliff Pennington to D-Backs; Chris Young to A's; prospect Yordy Cabrera to Marlins) yielded fairly mediocre results all around and could be looked upon as a wash at this point.
The other, at least as of now, had a clear winner, as the Reds received an amazing season from Shin-Soo Choo. The D-Backs received a strong defensive shortstop, Didi Gregorius, who had a solid year at the plate as a rookie. But the verdict is still out on the 23-year-old, who will compete for the starting job with Chris Owings.
Neither trade was a complete failure for the D-Backs, as pitching prospect Trevor Bauer, who was sent to Cleveland in the deal, has taken a few steps backward in his progress and doesn't appear as though he'll make the D-Backs regret the trade any time soon.
The three-team trade, first reported by Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, has slugger Mark Trumbo headed for the Diamondbacks, where he'll fill their void for another middle-of-the-order power hitter, while the Angels receive two controllable starters in left-handers Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs. The White Sox receive center fielder Adam Eaton, which could put the team in position to make another trade to free up space in a crowded outfield.
Two players to be named later, one from the Angels and one from the White Sox, will head to the Diamondbacks in the deal.
While it's too early to definitively declare a winner in the deal, we sure can analyze it and give our first impressions of the deal for all teams and players involved.
Loser: Arizona Diamondbacks
In successfully adding some more power to the lineup, the Diamondbacks not only gave up a top pitching prospect in Tyler Skaggs, it also cost them center fielder Adam Eaton, leaving them without a prototypical, scrappy on-base machine at the top of the lineup.
Acquiring three years of Mark Trumbo, who has averaged 32 homers per season in the majors and could hit 40 while playing half of his games in a much more hitter-friendly ballpark, gives the D-Backs some much-needed pop in the middle of their lineup. They were tied for 25th in the majors in homers last season.
Trading away Skaggs isn't unexpected, as the Diamondbacks have an extremely deep pitching staff. But a prospect of Skaggs' caliber with top-of-the-rotation potential could have been better utilized in a deal for a more well-rounded player than Trumbo.
The 27-year-old Trumbo certainly has some holes in his game. With all that power comes a career .299 on-base percentage, 152 strikeouts per season and so-so outfield defense, which likely isn't going to get better as he tries to cover spacious Chase Field. Towers acknowledged that the transition could be tough, but he expects "solid-average" defense from Trumbo. That's what he's hoping, anyways.
It's important to note that Towers previously traded Mark Reynolds and Chris Young, two players with power and similar on-base and strikeout woes to Trumbo, in an effort to change the makeup of his lineup.
Losing Eaton could come back to bite the D-Backs. If a year from now, Towers (or whoever is running this ballclub) declares that the team needs to find hitters who can get on base and don't strike out very often, we'll know it has come back to bite them.
Winner: Chicago White Sox
Players with the traits of an Adam Eaton are few and far between. Aside from his on-base ability (career .450 OBP in the minors), he has no plus tools. But he could play solid defense in center field, steal 30 bases, score 100-plus runs and hit 10 homers, 10 triples and 30 doubles annually.
The 25-year-old is also the kind of "dirtbag baseball player," as general manager Rick Hahn called him, that the city of Chicago will love watching play on a daily basis.
With OBP problems of their own—they were 27th in baseball last season with a .302 on-base percentage—and starting pitching to spare, the Sox did great to acquire Eaton without opening up another hole on their roster.
It actually opens up the possibility of another deal involving Alejandro de Aza or Dayan Viciedo, two young players who should have pretty good value on the trade market.
Winner: Los Angeles Angels
The Angels' quest to add controllable starting pitchers in exchange for a big league hitter took a temporary backseat when the team first addressed its need for a third baseman, trading Peter Bourjos to St. Louis for David Freese last month.
But a few weeks later, the Angels have executed the plan to perfection, as they've not only acquired one, but two left-handed starting pitchers who are solid fits after Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards in the starting rotation.
Hector Santiago, who will be 26 later this month and is under team control for four more seasons, had a 3.51 ERA with 62 walks and 122 strikeouts in 130.2 innings pitched over 23 starts last season.
Skaggs, still only 22 years of age, entered the 2013 season as the Diamondbacks' top prospect, according to Baseball Prospectus. His 4.59 ERA in Triple-A wasn't impressive—nor was his 5.12 ERA in seven big league starts. But he still has plenty of upside and should break into the Angels rotation at some point in 2014, if not right out of the gate.
Losing Trumbo's power hurts, but how successful the team is in 2014 has much more to do with how well it pitches and how well Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton do at the plate.
Winners: Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs
With the White Sox's recent signing of former Royals starter Felipe Paulino, along with the emergence of top prospect Erik Johnson, it was looking more and more like Hector Santiago was headed back to the bullpen in 2014. While there is still that possibility in the future, he appears to have a clear path to a rotation spot with the Angels next season.
Skaggs, in the meantime, didn't get much of a chance with Arizona in 2013 and appeared to fall behind the team's new top prospect, Archie Bradley, in the pecking order. He may not start the 2014 season with the Angels, but he's easily their best pitching prospect now and should be in the rotation for good once he's ready.
Winner: Mark Trumbo
In moving from Angel Stadium to Chase Field in Arizona, the expectations for Mark Trumbo's home run total will skyrocket.
While 40 homers is probably a realistic target for Trumbo, who hit 34 for the Angels last season, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com thinks he could even hit 50 in Arizona. Gonzalez covered the Angels in 2013, so he's familiar with Trumbo.
Three offseasons from now, Trumbo will be in line for a huge payday as a free agent. That payday will very likely be much bigger if he's added a 40-homer season or two to his resume. And he'll have Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto to thank for that.
Loser: Dayan Viciedo
Since last July, the White Sox have added outfielders Avisail Garcia and Adam Eaton, first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu, and re-signed Paul Konerko, who is expected to fill the designated hitter role against left-handed pitching.
With each move, the inconsistent Dayan Viciedo's place on the ballclub becomes a little bit less sturdy. The 24-year-old has 39 homers over the past two seasons, but his .302 on-base percentage, 52 walks and 218 strikeouts make it tough to pencil him to an everyday role.
As of now, he appears to be the odd man out, although there is certainly a chance he'll be traded to a team that has more at-bats for him. But that might not be the ideal scenario for the Cuban, who currently has two of his fellow countrymen—Abreu and Alexei Ramirez—on board with him in Chicago.