Mark Trumbo wasn’t among those Orioles traded in July, and by the time the August 31 deadline for trades came, his 2018 season was finished.
Trumbo, who was limited to 90 games last season, had right knee surgery in September. He also missed the first month of the season because of a quad injury.
Now, he thinks he’ll be ready to start 2019.
“Things are good. The strength is right where we want it,” Trumbo said of his knee at last Saturday’s FanFest at the Baltimore Convention Center.
“I don’t see any reason why things won’t be where they need to be.”
Trumbo, who is in the final year of a three-year, $37.5-million contract, didn’t have a bad 2018. He hit .261 with 17 home runs and 44 RBIs.
He was on pace to surpass his disappointing 2017 when, a year after hitting a major league-leading 47 homers, Trumbo hit 23 home runs and drove in 65 runs while hitting .234.
Trumbo was part of a veteran team last year, but after July’s purge, he and Chris Davis are two of the few veterans over 30. Trumbo turned 33 earlier this month.
Without Adam Jones and Darren O’Day, two of the most forceful veterans around, the lower-key Trumbo is going to have to mentor some of the younger players.
“Be approachable, and I think sometimes just starting a conversation goes a long way,” Trumbo said. “I think we’ve got a lot of guys that are eager to learn.”
Last year, Trumbo played little in spring training, and he’s looking forward to one that’s more complete this season. He’ll be going to Sarasota, Fla., shortly to get an early start on his spring.
“It’s probably not going to be totally normal, but I’d like to be able to build some momentum and kind of end on a high note,” Trumbo said.
Trumbo missed last year’s opener, and he’s aiming to be ready for March 28, when the Orioles begin their season at Yankee Stadium.
“I’d like to think so, sure,’ Trumbo said. “It’s hard to say definitely. I think where we’re at, there’s a lot of optimism.”
Missing so much time and watching his team lose 115 games made last season difficult for Trumbo.
“The whole thing was kind of tough,” Trumbo said. “If you’re asking personally, kind of an injury-filled year. The bat was actually OK. The stopping and starting in the rehabbing in addition to the team obviously struggling, there’s not a ton of good takeaways. I think that’s why everyone’s kind of excited to start something new.”
Trumbo thinks the team is eager “to put last year to bed,” and said with the new management, “expectations are going to be far more modest than they were last year, and I think that’s what you have to do to get some momentum and confidence going for younger guys.”
The Orioles’ change in direction includes an emphasis on analytics.
“I’d like to learn. I’d kind of like to know what that means,” Trumbo said. “I want to pick some people’s brains that know more than I do about it and see how exactly you can use it to your advantage.”
Trumbo in an interesting position. If he hits well, he could be traded and finish the season with a contender. Even if he had been healthy last season, taking on Trumbo’s $13.5 million salary for this year would have been difficult for many teams.
“I would like to get healthy and stay healthy,” Trumbo said. “I’m not much use to anybody on the disabled list.”
Minor league coaching addition
The Orioles are finishing their minor league staff. This week, they added a local coach, Tom Eller, who was the coach at Harford Community College. He will be a hitting coach, most likely at Short-Season Aberdeen.
Eller announced the news on his Twitter account.