Baltimore is looking for a slugging bat in its lineup, as are many other teams.
Free agent outfielder/designated hitter Mark Trumbo has been that bat that has been looked at. He batted .256/.316/.533, with a league-high 47 home runs, and 108 RBI. However, his representation and the Orioles haven’t seen eye-to-eye on a deal, as of late.
“The sides agree on four years, but they’re far apart on money and the Orioles won’t give a full no-trade clause,” said Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports during Day Three of the MLB Winter Meetings. “But you already know this if you’ve been paying attention.”
During that time, the Orioles also offered Trumbo a four-year/$52M deal. Trumbo’s representation offered their rebuttal. He wanted four years and anywhere from the $70M-80M range, putting him outside of Baltimore’s price range.
It’s possible that other teams could swoop in and go for Trumbo. The Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners have held interest in bringing Trumbo into the fold. The Rockies seem to be the biggest suitors outside of Baltimore and they currently have their eyes set on either Trumbo or fellow free agent, Edwin Encarnacion.
#Rockies Jeff Bridich are they in on Trumbo or Encarnacion?: "We're certainly keeping track… It would be stupid of us not to keep track."
— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) December 20, 2016
If the Rockies, or any other team in the National League, do acquire Trumbo or Encarnacion, they will play in the field. Trumbo was a much better first baseman than he was an outfielder last season. He could probably play first in Colorado without much of a problem. The biggest threat to Trumbo going to Colorado is Encarnacion.
Encarnacion has the track record of success that Trumbo just doesn’t have. He has hit 193 homers since 2012 and has batted .272/.367/.544 during that span. During last year’s campaign, Encarnacion batted .263/.357/.529 and hit 42 home runs, a career high. With more money to spend, he would be the most likely option for Colorado.
Now back to the Orioles and Trumbo…
Just a few days ago, issues came along in the negotiations between Trumbo’s camp and Baltimore. The Orioles took the deal off of the table for the slugger. It shouldn’t be much cause for panic, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports:
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 19, 2016
The Orioles obviously want to get better in the field. This is why Trumbo and the Orioles aren’t coming together for a more immediate deal. With -9 Defensive Runs Saved and a -5.9 Ultimate Zone Rating, Trumbo had an awfully hard time in right field during the season. Trumbo played 95 games and in many of them, he just wasn’t very good in the field. This is probably why he drawing interest in the National League because he is a solid first baseman.
As everyone knows with the Orioles, they have Chris Davis playing first. His position will not be usurped, especially since he plays a near-Gold Glove caliber bag. Davis had similar talks with the Orioles during last season, with Baltimore unsure if they’d bring back their power-hitting first baseman. They should continue to swing for the fences for Trumbo and I believe that eventually, just like Davis, he will be back in an Orioles uniform.
Here’s why I believe what I do:
The Orioles will start off in the lower ranges of deals, when offering a contract. Orioles GM Dan Duquette is known for meeting a player’s agents in the middle when it comes to salary. Trumbo also won’t receive more money that Encarnacion. That is because Encarnacion is the better player. Once he is signed, Trumbo’s camp will look towards the deal that he has received. Then they will make their move.
It is the classic waiting game for the Orioles and I believe that in the end, Trumbo will return to Baltimore. I expect Trumbo to land back in Birdland on a four-year/$65M deal.