I’m going to have almost as much fun watching Mark Trumbo home runs in 2014-2016 as anyone else.  Enjoying what he offers, though, does not mean we won’t suffer through what he doesn’t.  And enjoying what he offers does not mean that the three-team swap that brought Trumbo to the desert today was anything but a failure of imagination by the Arizona front office.

Let’s look at a few aspects of this trade: 1) whether it was a good move, value for value; 2) whether it makes the D-backs better for 2014 and beyond; and 3) some silver linings.

Value for value, the Diamondbacks got #Trumboned

To obtain Trumbo, GM Kevin Towers traded LHP Tyler Skaggs and OF Adam Eaton.  Arizona also gets two other players, one from the Angels and one from the White Sox.  The Angels prospect appears to be A.J. Schugel, a right handed pitcher who struggled in AAA in 2013 before getting shut down due to a foot injury.  Before the 2013 season, Schugel was ranked #10 by Minor League Ball’s John Sickels (C+ grade) in a system regarded by many as the worst in the majors.  The prospect from the White Sox could be the 23-year-old Brandon Jacobs, an outfielder who put up a .727 OPS while being old for high A and AA.  Sickels gave Jacobs a C+ grade, too, labeling him the #13 Red Sox prospect before the 2013 season (this is the second time he’s been traded in a year, as he was with Boston before the Matt Thornton trade).

For reference, before the season, Sickels gave Skaggs a grade of A- and Eaton a B grade.  It wasn’t too long ago that Skaggs was the top lefty prospect in the game, but yes, he developed mechanical issues (mainly, staying too tall in his delivery) that robbed him of a few mph on his fastball.  The curveball Skaggs offers still grades plus, and while his star has certainly fallen more than a little, a year ago trading Skaggs for Trumbo straight up would have been a horrific trade for the D-backs.  Perhaps selling Skaggs at less than fifty cents on the dollar is a scathing indictment of the front office’s belief in its own staff’s ability to fix him.

Adam Eaton doesn’t easily fit into a category.  His stock was also tarnished in 2013, but by injury, a partial ligament tear in his elbow that kept him out for about half of the season.  Although his speed is plus or better, Eaton doesn’t seem to be well thought of defensively in center field (although most players’ range in center would look lacking when compared to that of A.J. Pollock).  If Eaton isn’t a center fielder, then he’s an odd corner outfielder, a guy whose throwing arm was well thought of until his injury, but a guy who’s bat doesn’t profile as well in a corner.  A very good baserunner, Eaton brings a lot to the table still — including on base percentages that hovered around .450 in many of his minor league stops.  Should Eaton start to show .400 OBPs in the majors, he could become one of the best leadoff hitters in the game.  I don’t want to fall into the trap of preferring some types of value to other types, but still: other than Mike Trout, can you think of many speedy, high OBP players in the majors, especially one who is cost-controlled for five more years?  That could be something special.

Skaggs and Eaton might never be above average players, but they definitely could be — which is still saying a lot, especially in the context of a Diamondbacks organization that is incredibly average across the board.  With a team like that of the D-backs, average or below average doesn’t offer that much right now, which is why selling Holmberg to move Bell’s contract was genius, and why the D-backs should be hoarding upside lottery tickets, not frittering them away.

As for Trumbo’s value, our Jeff Wiser had this to say on Monday:

Mark Trumbo has his warts, as do all players. As Mike Petriello pointed out over at RotoGraphs this fall, Mark Trumbo is who he is: a low-average, low-walk, high-strikeout player who doesn’t run the bases well and plays relatively poor outfield defense. So basically, if his power wasn’t nearly an eight, he would be in AAA. But his power is nearly an eight and that’s what the Diamondbacks want to buy from him. Both Steamer and Oliver projection systems see him hitting nearly 30 doubles and over 30 home runs in 2014. That’s power production, but it comes at a cost (low-OBP, clogging the bases, poor defense, etc.). He’s arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason and he’s likely to see somewhere in the neighborhood of $22-28M over the next three years. After that, he’ll be a 31-year old free agent who doesn’t appear to be someone who will age gracefully.

Compare that to five years of Eaton and six years of Skaggs.  Is this really that close?

A little while ago, Jeff Sullivan had this to say at FanGraphs about what the D-backs got in Trumbo:

He’s not as good as his dingers and he’s not as bad as his OBP, and with his relatively low projected salaries, he stands to have some surplus value. It was worth trading something to get Mark Trumbo. But for three years of Trumbo getting paid many millions, Towers gave up six years of Skaggs and five years of Eaton. You’re not going to convince me that a couple players to be named later make this look good.

If Skaggs never recovers his 2011-2012 stuff, he might be a back of the rotation starter who will pitch almost for free for three years, before the arbitration scale starts.  Eaton might be only a .370 OBP guy who stays as timid on the basepaths as he seemed to be at the end of the 2013 season.  But these guys aren’t worthless, and a 2 WAR player who will be making arbitration salaries for the next three years is not worth a hell of a lot.

Think that Trumbo is worth a lot more than his 2 WAR status might suggest?  Well, WAR is already about worth, and it seems as though you missed Jeff Wiser’s piece from this morning.  If you did, go read the entire Perceived Value vs. Reality section now.  Actually, just read the whole thing, as I’m not treading the same ground.  I’ll wait.

Still not convinced?  Well here’s Dave Cameron this morning at FanGraphs, before the trade went through:

If the reported price tag of Adam Eaton and Tyler Skaggs is even remotely close to true, it seems fairly clear that the Diamondbacks are drastically overrating the value of Mark Trumbo, an unsurprising result given that he possesses the skillset that is most often overrated. To give up a prospect like Skaggs for the right to swap a speed-and-defense +2 WAR player for a dingers-and-ribbies +2 WAR player suggests that the Diamondbacks are following the trend of putting far too much emphasis on the ways players create runs and not the amount of runs they create.

The idea that Eaton and Trumbo have similar on-the-field value goes right to the point: not getting fair value makes this trade a loss, but it’s the fact that the trade will not help Arizona win more games in 2014 anyway that makes it a failure.

All three of these players could be 0 WAR guys going forward, and while Trumbo is probably the best bet to be above 2 WAR (if barely), I think for a rough calculation, we can use 2 WAR for all three.  10 WAR at five years’ worth of major league minimum salaries is a treasure trove, and the cost versus benefit value at all three arbitration stairs still works against Arizona (two players versus one).  That’s so, so much to give up.

You don’t have to believe me.  Pretend that Skaggs isn’t part of the trade at all, that Trumbo is a 2.5 WAR guy moving forward, and that Adam Eaton is a 1.5 WAR guy.  Overall, in the arb years, Trumbo probably will cost more, and give his team three more wins above replacement.  Two years of Eaton at major league minimum salaries cancels that surplus value out, more or less.

Of course, it’s not all about getting a one hundred cents change for every dollar — it’s far, far more valuable, certainly, to have one 3 WAR player than to have two 1.5 WAR players (because if you had the 3 WAR player, you have the opportunity of filling the second slot with a player who is better than replacement level).  I think, in reality, we’re looking at a discrepancy between Trumbo and Eaton of less than half a win, though, and while Trumbo pretty much is what he’s ever going to be, Eaton has a lot of room to improve (and potentially be a better player than Trumbo in 2015 and 2016).  The idea that Arizona derives benefit from concentrating value in Trumbo’s slot is at odds with the reality that Skaggs would also get a bump in value, because his chance at being well above average means his new team could get to concentrate value in one slot, too.

It can also be good to trade a dollar for less than a hundred cents if you’re getting back something you need (upgrading a position at which you’re worse), or if you have more dollars than you can use (if you have three good third basemen, it makes sense to trade one or two for pitching, even at a discount, because pitching is more fungible).  But did Arizona actually do either of those things?

Instead of making the team better, the trade is subtraction by addition

Here at Inside the ‘Zona, we’ve been obsessed with this playing time puzzle for 2014 since before the offseason began.  The fact that Martin Prado could slot in at third or left complicates things, as does the fact that we can’t know what Cody Ross is capable of in 2014, and that Ross is too good and too expensive to just write off as a loss.

Since the summer, I’ve been a firm believer that time shares can really work, particularly one that involves 4 players and 3 position.  Trying to play matchups and maximize production from 6 players (Eaton, Pollock, Parra, Ross, Prado, Davidson) across 4 positions (OF, 3B) is a much tougher proposition.  We knew that something had to give, and so adding Trumbo is not a one-for-one proposition with exactly one player dropping out.  We get that.

Still, you can’t add Trumbo plate appearances without taking them away from someone.  According to Bernie Pleskoff, Towers has made it “very clear” that Prado will be the guy playing third, not Davidson.  We’ll come back to that in a minute.  But removing Davidson from the equation, Arizona still would have had Ross, Eaton, Pollock and Parra looking for playing time.  Pollock is now the only true center fielder, so he’ll start most games, although it’s Parra that will probably move over to cover him (especially if Ross is around to fill in at right).

Switch Eaton out for Trumbo.  With Pollock and Parra playing virtually full time, where does that leave Cody Ross?  Is he just insurance, in the event of injury?  If so, he’s only good as insurance for Trumbo and Parra, because Parra’s throwing arm has much less value in center field, and Parra’s throwing arm is a big part of his defensive value, and Parra’s defensive value is a big part of his overall value.

Parra is too good to bench.  Of 558 position players who logged at least 50 PA in 2013, Parra tied for 32nd in WAR with 4.6 (twice as much value as Trumbo).  As Jeff wrote about a possible platoon this morning:

Maybe you platoon the righty Ross and the lefty Parra in right field but now you’re cutting into the playing time of both players and spending over $15 million to do it. I’m not sure that’s the best use of resources for a mid-market team.

‘Nuff said.  But if everyone reading this is willing to concede that Parra is likely to be a better performer in 2014 than Ross, then we can also think about this “subtraction by addition” issue by examining what would happen if Ross was benched entirely.

Cody Ross was very good in 2013 before he got hurt.  Yes, he was barely above average offensively — it did really seem like he was starting to come on when he got hurt, but in his 351 PA, he was 2% better at creating runs than the average hitter (102 wRC+), not the 14% better he was in 2012 (114 wRC+).  He was pretty damned good defensively, though.  23 UZR/150 is excellent, and 20 Defensive Runs Saved in a mere 712 innings is also excellent.  Overall, Ross put up 1.8 wins above replacement despite just 351 PA, just over half a season.

Trumbo put up 2.5 WAR in 678 PA, nearly twice as many PA as Ross.  Are we positive that blocking Ross with Trumbo is actually helping the team in 2014?  We can’t possibly be.  Maybe Trumbo would be better; maybe he wouldn’t.  Since we’re paying Ross anyway, and since we have (or had) the depth to cover for Ross if he couldn’t play consistently, I’m not sure it was worth trading away two good players to find out.  Steamer projects 1.8 WAR for Ross in 2014, with more playing time (expecting less of a contribution on defense).  It projects 2.2 WAR for Trumbo, an upgrade, but not a big one.  And, in case you’re counting at home, Steamer projects a 1.7 WAR for Eaton in 412 PAs (suggesting a WAR over 2 with more playing time).  And, in case you’re really counting at home, Eaton would have had room to improve in subsequent years.

Ok, so maybe it’s a wash.  But Ross does not become the only casualty with Trumbo getting virtually all of the LF starts — with Martin Prado at third base, Matt Davidson gets shipped away, or relegated to the bench.

This is where I really get confused.  I don’t rate or evaluate prospects with anything but numbers, but all I’ve ever read about Matt Davidson are (extremely reasonable) reports of future .250 batting averages, with average defense at third — and 25 HR power.  That’s short of the 34 HR that Trumbo put up in 2013, definitely, and the difference is significant.  But factoring in defense and the fact that Davidson could play a skill position, and I think the 2014 D-backs (or at least the 2015 D-backs) come out behind, not ahead.

Steamer thinks that Davidson only gets 101 PA in 2014, so I’m going to decline to simply take his stats and multiply them (I would be much more comfortable doing so at 300 PA, maybe).  FanGraphs also has the Oliver projections for 2014 ready, though, which rates most players similarly (although it has Eaton at a well-above-average 3.6 WAR).  Projecting 600 PA, Oliver pegs Davidson’s likely 2014 contributions at 1.7 WAR.  Given that Davidson’s power-first profile is of a similar type to Trumbo’s, but that he fits on the roster better, I think picking up Trumbo is subtraction by addition, if only for Davidson reasons.

As Jeff skillfully illustrated this morning, it’s not all about performance on the field in 2014, though.  Even removing service time from the equation, the D-backs have only so much money, and the proper way for a mid-market team to spend money is something other than blowing it on upgrades that aren’t really upgrades.  The money freed up by the Bell trade is now gone, and despite reports that they’re looking to sign a free agent starting pitcher, I’m not convinced that Arizona has more money bullets to fire.

The Silver Linings

I’m trying, here.  I’m really trying.

One good thing is that the Trumbo trade seems to signal a commitment to A.J. Pollock in center field, as more or less a full time starter (unless the plan for Ross is to fill in at RF, pushing Parra).  That’s pretty cool, if you ask me.  Even those who rail against using a defense-first right fielder can be happy about having such a strong defender in center.

I was not a Pollock fan for much of the season, and a .409 slugging percentage will never set the world on fire.  He’ll put up slightly above average batting averages, but keep things on the ground.  In 2013, he was a mere 2% below average at creating runs (98 wRC+).  But more importantly, Pollock did set the world on fire with his defense — particularly his range.

Of the 140 position players who qualified for the batting title, Pollock came in 8th overall in RngR, the component of Ultimate Zone Rating that constitutes range.  Of the 7 players ahead of him, only Parra (RF only) and Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez were outfielders.  But RngR is a counting stat, and no player ahead of him on the list had less than 1,000 innings at their position (Pollock had 915.2).  That’s why that when UZR is turned into a rate stat, (UZR/150), Pollock does even better: 28.6 UZR/150, 5th best among all (qualified) position players in 2013.  That’s defense worth playing even if it came with significantly below average hitting, a la Peter Bourjos.

So Pollock is worth quite a bit.  I thought a 60%-80% playing time situation would work well for him, but Pollock could put up some interesting numbers in 2014.  Of the 54 position players ahead of Pollock in WAR in 2013, only six had fewer than Pollock’s 482 PA: Juan Uribe (5.1), Hanley Ramirez (5.1), Carlos Gonzalez (4.9), Colby Rasmus (4.8), Yasiel Puig (4.0), and Yan Gomes (3.7).  Most of the players ahead of him had more than 600 PA.  Pollock could do some damage next year, even if it’s mostly from catching fly balls (and one wonders if he might typically shade to left field, given Parra’s fantastic range and Trumbo’s other kind of range).

Another thing that the Trumbo trade brings is clarity.  Even if it’s for the worse, the roster is taking shape.  Assuming health for Aaron Hill, Prado is setting up camp at third base, making Matt Davidson completely expendable.  Sure, if Davidson is still on the roster and one of Trumbo, Prado or Goldy gets hurt, he’d be the guy to fill in.  But I think we can expect that he’ll get moved, now.

Maybe Davidson won’t reach that 25 HR prediction, but consider this: only 6 third basemen had more than 22 HR in 2013.  David Wright could have reached that level but for injury, but Miguel Cabrera (44 HR) is now moving to first.  Power at third base is pretty scarce, and if Davidson is average defensively, he’s going to stick as an average player at third, rather than as a below average player at first.  Davidson could get some real value on the trade market, and with the clarity brought by the Trumbo trade, there’s almost no reason not to cash it in.


What do you all thing of the Trumbo trade?  Feel free to post some silver linings of your own.  We could all use some.


47 Responses to The Trumbo Trade: Subtraction by Addition

  1. Bradford says:

    I know some are skeptical about Trumbo, and believe me, I think we gave up way too much to get him. However, even in the fury I feel that KT somehow screwed up again, I can see some positives for acquiring the power-first Trumbo.
    For one thing, it gives Gibson something he did not have last year, the luxury of a creating a consistent batting lineup. It looked like last year Gibson was lost for who to put around Goldy, especially with the way Kubel struggled. Ross was also slow to start, Hill was hurt, Montero was not his usual self, and Prado was completely lost at the dish in the first half. While Trumbo is not a superstar, he is a known quantity. His first three seasons are remarkably consistent, and thankfully healthy, meaning we can pencil him into the four hole behind Goldy all year long. That gives Gibby a foundation for a strong lineup rather than a stack of two hole and five hole hitters scattered around our prized first baseman.
    Another thing Trumbo adds to the team is a unique presence in the lineup. I feel Eaton alone would have been too much to trade for Trumbo, but the Dbacks have Pollock, Gregorious, Parra and Owings on the team, all hitters that lack any sort of significant power. Say what you will about protection in lineups being a myth, but pitchers pitch differently to guys who have Gracie’s “puncher’s chance.” I felt like last year’s offense involved throwing a string of very similar hitters one after the other at the opposing pitcher. With Trumbo, pitchers have to get out of their rocking chair, change their approach, and that can lead to mistakes. Even if Trumbo strikes out, maybe Hill gets a fat fastball because the opposing pitcher had to throw three straight sliders to strike Trumbo out and got knocked off his rhythm. Trumbo certainly provides that much differentiation, even if I think Eaton would ultimately be the better offensive piece. We now have a lineup that can beat a pitcher in more ways than one.
    Trust me, I’m going to be as frustrated as anyone else watching Trumbo strike out to end the game ten times this year. He’s painfully one dimensional and we gave up too much for him. However, he provides some value in his creation of a steady middle of the order for the next three seasons, and an intimidating presence he brings to an otherwise bland offense. We may not be better for WAR than Eaton and Skaggs, but I think the Dbacks will win more games this year because of him.

    • Ryan P. Morrison says:

      If Trumbo versus Eaton, Skaggs and Davidson is a close call performance wise, then giving up eleven years of control over two of those guys and spending money that could go elsewhere really tips the balance for me. But you make reasonable points.
      Another thing to think about is the actual lineup. Hill might need to lead off, even — I think you have Goldy-Trumbo-Hill, and that might invite managers to use matchup guys a little too often. It’s a lot of pressure to put on Montero, maybe, but his bat is needed in there somewhere (maybe Goldy-Trumbo-Montero-Hill-Prado, or bat Hill second, and go Hill-Goldy-Montero-Trumbo-Prado).

    • JAG says:


      • Ryan P. Morrison says:

        You know, I’ve never thought of Caps Lock as being a very useful key, but I see now just how important it would be if it was already stuck in the “on” position.

        Let’s go backwards.

        1. Ross or Trumbo — is it that big of a difference?

        Yes. Oh, and we’re paying Ross either way.

        2. Eaton’s ability to create runs doesn’t matter as much because Pollock will create more by Eaton not being on the team.

        Yes, there are a finite number of plate appearances to go around (although the number could go up if the good OBP guys hit first). Pollock is an above-average player (see entire “silver linings” section above), but it’s a good bet that he’ll be at least slightly below league average as a hitter. It’s a good bet that Eaton will be above average as a hitter. Pollock might do more offensively with more PAs, but that doesn’t mean he’d create as many runs as anyone else would.

        3. If you were to replace Trumbo with Eaton last year with the Angels he wouldn’t have driven in 100 RBI.

        Well, you’ve got me there. Of course, Eaton was hurt, and younger, and probably would not bat fifth. Eaton probably would have about 50 more runs, though, right?

        4. If you have have a bunch of guys who get on base and nobody to knock them in, what’s the point?

        I think there are several. Most runs get batted in with singles. If a guy gets on base, then he’s not getting an out — which gives another guy a chance to hit. Wearing down pitchers helps, too, just ask the Red Sox. I think there are a lot of answers, so how about I turn it back on you — if you have a bunch of guys to knock in other guys, but no one on base to knock in, what’s the point?

        5. Man on first, would I rather have a contact hitter known for beating out infield singles ground into a double play, or have a power hitter strike out?

        The frequency of that scenario is a lot lower than you think. And the power hitter could ground out just as easily, no? In virtually any situation, I would prefer the guy with the significantly higher on base percentage. .400 OBP versus .300 OBP means getting on base almost one extra time every two days. Which means someone extra gets to hit at least one extra time every two days.

        Just separately — the arguments that Skaggs and/or Eaton were not as valuable to the Diamondbacks as they could have been, based on the rest of the roster… that’s no reason to sell them for 40 cents on the dollar, right? The premise of that argument is that the D-backs may have valued them more if the D-backs’ roster was different. Well, there are 29 other teams out there…

        • JAG says:

          Sorry haha by the time the I noticed caps was on it was too late. All I’m saying is Pollock had a war of 3.2 while Eaton was 0. Of course Pollock had slightly less than double the at bats but he did steal more than half the bases, hit more than twice the amount of doubles, hit more than twice the amount of home runs with a better obp than eaton. Stats say dbacks are better with Pollock full time than eaton. Small sample size but Pollock even hits better vs. Rhp then Eaton though he’s left handed. Skaggs most likely would have had little influence on next year so yes we will miss Eaton and the potential of Skaggs and yes dbacks gave up too much (potential) but the team is actually better by subtraction with this new addition. Hey, look what pedro alverez does for the pirates.

          • Ryan P. Morrison says:

            Cool, no problem– sorry for the snark in response!

            It hadn’t occurred to me to try relying on Eaton’s 2013 stats, to be perfectly frank. Not to beat a dead horse, but Eaton’s minor league OBPs are so obscene that we can probably withhold judgment until he’s got a full season, at least.

            In terms of whether the team is better off for 2014, I don’t think so, but there’s room for reasonable minds to differ. Who Skaggs is will probably be determined in spring training, and earlier this offseason I was thinking that if he looked like he did in spring 2013, he’d probably win the 5th spot from Delgado. If he was throwing like a year before, he’d have a shot at being above average, whereas Delgado is who he is.

            The post was about how the D-backs didn’t get full value, though, and I haven’t yet heard a counterargument about that. I got into the effect on the roster only because filling a dire need should be the only reason to dump players at such low, low rates.

            I like the Alvarez example– like Trumbo, but for power, he wouldn’t be even below average as a player. Because of power, both players are definitely worth playing. But just keep in mind that he was not the late bloomer that Trumbo was. Jeff’s post on Friday covered that really well.

  2. […] The Trumbo Trade: Subtraction by Addition […]

  3. Bradford says:

    Yeah, I didn’t consider the string of righties through the middle of the order. I still think Trumbo should be in the 4 hole, but maybe Montero gets more fastballs with Trumbo behind him. Goldy can hit anything, I’m not concerned about him getting offspeed stuff. Maybe they could do Parra in the 2 hole, Goldy, Trumbo, Montero. Then Hill sixth? Idk. Gibby and I have all winter to think about it.

    • Ryan P. Morrison says:

      I think a lineup-in-the-wake-of-Trumbo post is in the topic queue for us, but yeah. We might as well embrace the idea of Pollock or Parra atop the lineup, and the idea of having a string of RHH most days. Assuming Owings gets starts against lefties, he could be up there.

      Against RHP, it could be Parra in the two hole, just because Gregorius could be 8th. Few teams have a good, everyday solution to leadoff (the White Sox are one such team, now). Maybe Hill will get tried out up there. We don’t have good OBP threats with no power, so we can use a middling OBP guy, or we could “waste” some power with Hill, who is probably our second-best OBP threat.

    • Ryan P. Morrison says:

      Back of the envelope, for the fun of it:

      Against RHP:


      And against LHP:

  4. […] that were exchanged, head over to Ryan Morrison’s piece at Insidethezona which you can access here (after you are done here, of course).  However, after having a chance to think it over, getting a […]

  5. Jeff Mays says:

    An Angels fan here, sad to see Trumbo go. A lot has been made of Trumbo’s low OBP, but he had a .358 OBP for the first half of the season in 2012 before his spectacular performance in the Home Run Derby jacked up his swing. In 2010 he had a .368 OBP in Triple-A. He has the ability to hit for a high OBP. One of the problems is that he never had the comfort of settling in at a set position while with the Angels, playing parts of seasons at first base, DH, outfield, and even third base.

    Also, his power in Arizona should be even more powerful than in Anaheim where the thick marine layer weighs heavily on fly balls.

    He is an above average defender at first base, and although he struggled initially during his transition to the outfield, he quickly got better as he played more games out there. His routes to the ball improved. His throws got better. In 2012 he even threw out a couple of runners at the plate. As you would expect, he has a strong throwing arm.

    Trumbo is a hard worker. He participates in community events. He is an intelligent person who started to take on a leadership role in the Angels’ clubhouse.

    The Diamondbacks are getting a high quality person and player with the potential to do even greater things on the field in Arizona than he did in Southern California.


    • Jeff Wiser says:

      Everything I’ve heard on all fronts is positive about the guy. Did the DBacks maximize value in the Trumbo trade? Probably not, but they got a guy that will be entertaining and a great representative of the organization. Obviously we focus on the tangible things here, but there are intangible ones that Trumbo clearly brings to the table.

    • Ryan P. Morrison says:

      Thanks for dropping by!
      I’ll chime in with JW – Trumbo will definitely be entertaining.

      I’m not sure the .368 OBP in AAA will keep me warm at night, though — considering that the OF we gave up, Adam Eaton, had a .456 OBP in AAA in 2012 (and 562 PAs is not a small sample).

      Yeah, you read that right: .456. In the majors last year, only 7 qualified players had OBPs over .400, and only 4 were over .404.

      With his speed, if Eaton can be a top ten OBP guy…

  6. Bradford says:

    Looks solid to me. I just hate wasting Hills production against righties, which is easily the majority of pitchers. Since we acquired him Hill has been a great offensive contributor, not just home runs but clutch RBIs too. Maybe we can let Pollock get some consistent ABs and try to sort it out. If he’s going to play everyday we might as well let him develop against both types of pitchers.

  7. mohave county says:

    Years of control are worthless if the player is mediocre. Ian Kennedy had one real good year and one ok year, and a lot of bad years; but we had years of control. Adam Eaton had his chance, what was his 2013 WAR? -0.0 Skaggs may get better or he maybe he is like Barry Enright. The point being at the major league level Trumbo had 100 rbi’s in 2013. So that’s way better than Josh Whitesell ever did.

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      I see what you’re saying here, but if baseball just wrote off every player that had an unsuccessful debut, how many players would ever play for the team that drafted them? Eaton was never healthy and was in and out of the lineup so frequently, it’s hard to think he ever settled in.
      Team control is invaluable to a team like Arizona given that they can’t afford to buy a winner on the open market. A player may be mediocre to start with, but they have to make an attempt to develop said player because the potential surplus value is what keeps this team afloat. Ian Kennedy just wasn’t very good and that has nothing to do with team control.
      I’m a no-go on the RBI comment because, well, they’re RBI’s and those aren’t a skill. Power is a skill, RBI’s are not.

    • Ryan P. Morrison says:

      This time last year, the thought of trading Skaggs for Trumbo straight up should have been horrifying. After the mechanical problems this year, trading Skaggs for Trumbo straight up now might not have been good value, but it would at least have been reasonable.

      But I want to say this here, with a neat little date and time stamp: by the middle of 2015, Adam Eaton might be the best leadoff man in the game. And I think it’s pretty close to 50/50 on whether or not Eaton will be more valuable for the White Sox in 2014 than Trumbo is for the D-backs, and 50/50 on Eaton being at least one of the top 3-4 leadoff men in the game by the middle of 2015.

      Please do not discount the mind-blowingness of Adam Eaton’s minor league OBPs. They are out of this world.

      Only seven qualified hitters had OBPs over .400 in the majors this year. In a very non-scientific study, I just pulled out two of them who are known principally for their OBPs — Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo.

      Votto’s OBP in 2013 was .435. Steamer projects .424 in 2014. Votto’s first full season, it was .368. His full season at AAA, it was .381.

      Choo’s OBP in 2013 was .423. Steamer projects .385 in 2014. Choo’s first full season, it was .394. His AAA OBPs were .394 (427 PA, Mariners) and .328 (238 PA, Indians).

      Eaton has only had 380 PA so far in the majors, a bit more than a half season, but his career OBP is .332. Still, Steamer projects .357 for next season.

      Eaton’s AAA OBP in 2012 was .456. FOUR FIFTY SIX. And this was not an aberration — in a half season of AA PAs, Eaton had an OBP of .416. His High A season, it was .455. His rookie league season, it was .496.

      As I said in the main text of this post, Eaton might only ever be a .370 OBP guy. If that’s his floor, that makes him about as valuable as Trumbo. If Eaton can push .400 — then, yeah. Best leadoff man in the game. He’d be Choo, minus some power, but plus some speed.

    • Ryan P. Morrison says:

      And just a bit of back of the envelope math…

      Run value of a home run is about 1.39 runs. Let’s say Trumbo gets 25 more home runs than Eaton. Awesome — that’s about 35 runs. But if Eaton was getting singles instead of those home runs, you have to decrease that by the value of 25 singles (0.47 x 25 = 11.75). So that could be an increase of 23 runs, Trumbo over Eaton.

      But the run value of a walk is in the 0.32 range, and the run value of an out is about -0.25. So if there are 50 instances a year in which Eaton walks, but Trumbo gets an out — that’s an increase of about 28 runs (0.57 x 50), Eaton over Trumbo.

      That’s an embarrassingly quick and dirty treatment, but, yeah. There’s at least a chance that Eaton will be more helpful than Trumbo next year.

  8. […] start with, they can protect themselves. If they extend him immediately and he declines, it makes a bad trade look even worse. Let’s hope Arizona does the right […]

  9. Joe Romero says:

    Another Angels fan here, and I ditto what the first Angels fan said 110% I’m still upset we lost Trumbo and it wouldn’t of mattered who we got in return! and yes his Numbers will be way up playing in AZ , I promise !!!

  10. Tommy Hudson says:

    I think everyone is looking at this trade the wrong way. Skaggs may never recover from last year and eaton is a premadonna. I say good riddance to both. To get a bopper that may hit 40 and drive in 100 for two guys where we had depth is hard to complain about.

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      But if one of Eaton/Skaggs becomes average or better, then this trade is a loss. The value of an average or above-average player at the league minimum dwarfs Trumbo’s potential productions when you factor in salary and defense. The picture is much larger than home runs and attitudes.

    • Miguel says:

      First of all Skaggs started with the angels when he got traded, it was when he was traded to AZ that his delivery got screwed up. Mark trumpbois indeed a good player but he is just a 2 win player who is going to hit 230 and his Obp will be about 320. Homeruns and RBI isn’t the only thing you should look at these days. So good luck with trumbo but at the end of the day we got 2 starters , 1 :22 2:26 for a guy who is 27 and all can do is hit Homeruns and drive in runs other than that he is a worthless player

  11. Steve in Boston says:

    As a big Angel fan, I can assure Trumbo can hit 40 playing in your place, if your overall lineup is decent. Hencan hit the ball out of sight.

    And he is a great presence in the community and in the clubhouse.

    He is not a great fielder, but he works very hard and will improve. He can handle left field. He has a decent arm.

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      I don’t think there’s any question about his ability to hit it out of the park. In a park that yields a lot of homers traditionally, however, the value of a HR is diminished because the home run itself is inflated. We should acknowledge that when talking about raw home run totals. I’ll let UZR speak for the defense, but there’s no question that Trumbo is a good person to add to the organization and he’ll likely be a fan favorite in AZ.

  12. UZRdaddy says:

    I’m not a DBack fan but loved reading all the railing against this deal. One odd thing I noticed is every critic of the deal depicts Trumbo as “what you see is what you get” but then gives the unproven players in the deal a lot of “potential” upside.

    Is there no upside to Trumbo? He just entered his prime. His walk rate has gone 4.5% to 8% in the space of 3 yrs. His ISO is pretty impressive given he’s playing in a home park that has throttled the likes of Pujols and Hamilton (both between 30-40 pts lower in ISO at home).

    Trumbo held his own as well as Pujols in Angel stadium his first 2 yrs and then put up an amazing .242 ISO there last year. That’s Trout territory (whose wheels let him turn lots of hits into doubles and triples that Trumbo can’t).

    Trumbo is not a finished product in my book. He’s got a lot more upside than the critics of the deal are giving him.

    • Ryan P. Morrison says:

      Hey, you’re entitled to your opinion. But did you see Jason Collette’s piece on ESPN SweetSpot? In some ways that matter, Trumbo is getting worse, not better. Missing in the strike zone more and more is alarming.

      I think Jeff’s post on Friday covered some Trumbo comps: http://insidethezona.com/2013/12/guess-power-hitter/

      As to why projecting some guys but not others, the post is just my opinion, based on how certain skills tend to progress or age. As to not projecting Trumbo… Can you think of any players who got markedly better after turning 28?

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      Sure Trumbo’s BB% has climbed, but so has his K%. I feel like all of the comments around the web about Trumbo making progress because of his BB% is merely trying to find something positive to say beyond the fact that he has as much raw power as anyone in the game. A lot of folks never liked Adam Dunn but Trumbo is essentially Dunn with less ISO and fewer walks. How sexy is that?

      The last thing I’d like to say is about age curves. The traditional age curves didn’t provide much hope for improvement after the ‘prime’ of ages 27-30. But yesterday Jeff Zimmerman dropped a bit of a bomb by revealing the current ‘adjusted’ age curves for the post PED era. You should certainly read that article and consider Trumbo (and everyone else) while doing so. You can find it here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/hitters-no-longer-peak-only-decline/

  13. […] to acquire Mark Trumbo. As we’ve spoken about at length, Trumbo has undeniable power and while he has his warts, there is some value to 35 home runs. Of course, there’s also a lack of value in playing a […]

  14. […] this site already knows. A great player he is not — but he is a pretty good one. I did think the trade was terrible, in that Trumbo’s value probably should have been similar to each of the two players the […]

  15. […] pretty much everything to break right for them in order to be a playoff contender. Then came some trades that were perhaps underwhelming from a value standpoint, if not from a production standpoint. Add the Patrick Corbin news, some unforeseen drops in […]

  16. […] D-backs’ chances of winning in 2014 while giving up on the future of two very real assets, a lose-lose proposition that seemed pretty obvious from the outset. But the Upton trade wasn’t a great one, either, […]

  17. […] notably Braden Shipley and Aaron Blair. They didn’t accumulate talent last offseason; instead Kevin Towers sent it away at his own peril. But a good draft in 2014 and some palatable moves later, the Diamondbacks have a […]

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