Relax, Trumbo stays in Baltimore this season - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

Relax, Trumbo stays in Baltimore this season

Trumbo_Mark_155 (2)
Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

While talking with Terry Ford on 105.7 The Fan last night, he asked me whether I thought the Orioles would trade Mark Trumbo for pitching help.

It’s a topic that has some legs, apparently.

Fans have been knocking around the idea on talk radio and on-line forums for a little while. Last week, my old Sun colleague Peter Schmuck wrote a column saying it should be explored since the Orioles have limited trade chips, surplus power and desperately need pitching. And Trumbo is a free-agent at season’s end.

In concept, it makes sense, I suppose.

In reality, there is no shot it happens. None.

But it’s come up a couple of times. So I’ll address it today – and then you can move away from the ledge.

Teams that are selling off starting pitching are giving up. And, therefore, they don’t want a veteran star in his last few months before free agency; they want a bevy of controllable prospects instead.

Teams that are in contention aren’t trading starting pitching, because no one has that kind of surplus. Or no team that wants to make the playoffs thinks it has that kind of surplus.

Sure, I suppose a three-team deal could happen, but those are rare because it’s difficult enough to get two clubs to agree on swapping pieces; three is a lost art. Especially at the non-waiver trade deadline, when clubs are working against the clock and each other to finalize deals.

Then there’s the other important part of this. Besides Manny Machado, Trumbo is currently the Orioles’ most crucial offensive piece. He’s leading the majors in homers. He leads the Orioles in RBIs with 68, 10 more than Chris Davis, who is second. Trumbo is fourth in on-base percentage behind Machado, Davis and leader Hyun Soo Kim, who is dealing with a hamstring strain and his start of the second half could be in jeopardy. That’s even more reason to keep Trumbo, who is seemingly in the middle of every big rally for the Orioles.

Yes, Trumbo’s great season means he’ll have plenty of suitors on the open market, and that means it will take some serious cash to retain him. But, even if he leaves via free agency, the Orioles will get a compensation pick for him.

The bottom line is that Trumbo is not going to bring back the kind of pitcher the Orioles really need to get a stronger foothold atop the AL East standings. The only current position players that would yield that return are Machado and Jonathan Schoop, who are young and still have a couple more years of team control. And they aren’t going to be dealt.

The most likely scenario is that the Orioles trade a couple minor leaguers – guys with some big-league potential but not the club’s few legitimate prospects – for a mid-to-back-end rotation piece such as Philadelphia’s Jeremy Hellickson, for instance.

As for trading Trumbo, it’s one of those situations where the concept might have merit, but the reality doesn’t. So, really, it’s idle talk before actual trade discussions heat up.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 12, 2016 at 7:13 am

    You always make so much sense Mr. Connolly. I say that with all sincerity.

    Thanks for belaying my fears that Schmuck’s suggestion may come true. Even if they could have pried away some middle of the order starter in trade for Trumbo, I think it would be pure folly to do so. At this point, why even consider tinkering with the chemistry this team is obviously riding?

    • Dan Connolly

      July 12, 2016 at 10:19 am

      Thanks Boog. I didn’t even mention the chemistry. He has fit in tremendously with this group.

  2. 5brooks5

    July 12, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Exactly, any team that wants Trumbo is in the race and will not give up pitching. We only trade Mark if we stink it up in the second half, so let’s hope we keep him and that he doesn’t repeat his tendencies toward a second half swoon.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 12, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Brooks, the non-waiver deadline in Aug. 1. You are talking three weeks until then. I doubt they’ll fall out of at least wild card contention by then. And he’d be claimed on waivers after that. So the club’s stink it up scenario doesn’t seem in play either.

  3. rebusgadfly

    July 12, 2016 at 10:27 am

    always on target. I didn’t even factor in that a team with surplus pitching wouldn’t want a rental for the season. Pitching is too high of a commodity. Thanks Dan! (walking away from the edge)

    • Dan Connolly

      July 12, 2016 at 11:42 am

      Walk carefully Rebus.

  4. BmoreJack

    July 12, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Was thinking the same exact thing as you re nobody’s going to want to trade a top end pitcher for a 3 month rental. Would I trade him for Bumgarner? Yes times 1000. But that ain’t happening. Keep the bats, keep crushing the ball, and let the chips fall where they may.

  5. Os fan in Detroit

    July 12, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    I hope they are not even considering trading Trumbo, in fact I would like to him sign a deal to stay in Baltimore for a few years. He has recently said playing on this team is the most fun he has ever had.

    • JustWin8

      July 12, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Money > Having fun as an Oriole.

  6. bill-s

    July 13, 2016 at 7:56 am

    I like what Trumbo brings as much as anyone, but this starting rotation is miserable. A few weeks ago, there might have been a great trade partner with the Mets, who need offense and have starting pitching to spare. But injuries to Mets pitchers have made that opportunity unlikely. I can’t think of another contender in a similar position, but injuries in the next few weeks could open doors. I think the O’s need to keep all options open, including trsding Trumbo and then possibly resigning him as a free agent if he really likes playing in Baltimore so much.

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