The Baltimore Orioles are in the lead when it comes to the race of signing Mark Trumbo, but the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals are still in the picture.
Despite the Orioles agreeing to a four-year framework of a deal with Trumbo during the winter meetings, no contract was signed. How much was offered isn’t quite clear, but expectations before free agency started hovered around $15 million a season for the 30 year old slugger, who finished with an AL-best 47 home runs last season, earning him his second career All-Star nod and his first Silver Slugger award from the outfield position. Trumbo’s defense did push to play a lot of DH in 2016, but he did spent most of his time in right field.
Not so sure his next team will give him that position. First base seems more like it. Trumbo doesn’t add much to the table besides power. He batted just .256 last season and finished with a .850 OPS. But his ability to hit the ball out of the park (never made it past 34 home runs before) gets you paid and noticed, even if your defense is nothing to brag about. The Orioles do have the option of re-signing Pedro Alvarez, but that will only happen if Trumbo gets away from them.
Still, it could happen. The Cardinals need power, and the Rockies might be willing to make some outfield trades in order to open up room and salary space for his arrival. The Cardinals do want to add a big bat to their infield, even if it means moving Matt Carpenter back to third base. Despite their two big signings already, they’re not done looking at sluggers like Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion.
The Rockies already signed Ian Desmond who brings power and good fielding to the outfield, but the rumors of Carlos Gonzalez being moved never seem to go away. The Rockies might finally be aggressive in moving his $20 million deal. Maybe Charlie Blackmon gets traded instead. But trade and inside shifting aside, it won’t be surprising if a National League team offers Trumbo good money, but on a short-term contract. It seems most teams see him as a DH and nothing more right now, or someone who’ll quickly be limited to that role soon enough.