MLB Rumors: Blue Jays, Orioles & Two Upcoming Free Agency Dilemmas

Interesting how things work out. The Baltimore Orioles got Mark Trumbo because a team didn’t want to pay him less than qualifying offer money, and now will probably be unable to retain him for just that. Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays aren’t sure about keeping Jose Bautista, and even if they will, paying him more than the qualifying offer doesn’t seem likely.


Trumbo, who played for the Seattle Mariners last season, was traded to the Orioles after Seattle didn’t want to pay him $9.1 million. The Orioles got an outfielder who played a lot of DH this season but mostly in the outfield with below average defense. However, the 30-year old has so far knocked 45 balls out of the ballpark, leading the majors in home runs (had only 13 last season, previous career high 34 when playing for the Angels).

Trumbo doesn’t have a special batting average (.250) and overall, his OPS is very good, but not eye popping at .838. However, with these kind of numbers, the Orioles will extend him the $16.7 million qualifying offer, but they probably know he won’t take it, looking to sign a big multiyear deal. Trumbo is 18th in the majors in homers (176) and 30th in ISO (.220) since debuting in 2010, but besides power, there’s not much to lean on.

He’s hit extremely poorly (Excluding the 17 home runs) after the All-Star break, batting just .187 and posting just .263 on OBP. That comes down to 1.5 fWAR, but according to fangraphs, Trumbo has given the Orioles $12.2 million in value, outproducing his salary. Considering how Chris Davis has performed in year 1 of his massive deal ($23 million a season on average), the Orioles will be wary of paying Trumbo more than the qualifying offer for a number of years.

In the same division, north of the border, there are the Blue Jays. From 2010 through 2015, Bautista hit 227 home runs, batted .268, made base .390 and posted a .945 OPS. However, after six consecutive All-Star years that included three silver slugger awards and four times showing up in the top 8 of the AL MVP vote, he’s come back to earth in 2016.

Bautista was hoping for a multiyear deal worth around $30 million a season at the end of 2016. But he’s batting only .233 with a .808 OPS, his lowest since 2009. With only 20 home runs, it might be surprising if the Blue Jays offer the soon to be 36-year old a qualifying offer, but they probably will. Bautista will probably take it, giving him a chance to rebuild his value, although the likelihood of that happening isn’t strong. If there’s a hint he can take a multi year deal ($45 million over three years?) somewhere else, he’ll probably go for it.