The Baltimore Orioles offseason could be shaping up to be very similar to last season’s. A year ago, they entered the winter months with the reigning home run leader hitting free agency and it took until mid-January until they reached a deal with Chris Davis.
It has been reported for much of the offseason that the club offered a four-year, $50 million contract to Trumbo, but the two sides could not come to an agreement. Rosenthal is now reporting that the slugger is willing to reduce his asking price to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million mark. It is a move the Orioles must strongly consider.
There has been much debate as to whether the O’s are driving up the value on themselves, as they did with Davis. While Trumbo will not cost nearly as much as Crush, he is asking to take up a good portion of the payroll. What hurts the club is that Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million deal with the Cleveland Indians. Trumbo wants something in that range after posting near similar numbers in 2016.
Other teams are reportedly interested in Trumbo – the Colorado Rockies and Texas Rangers to name two – but it would take some maneuvering to make all the pieces fit. The market for Trumbo has not been as hot as his camp thought it would be, but that could be tied to the fact that signing the veteran outfielder will cost a team a draft pick. That’s why re-signing with the Orioles makes the most sense.
Baltimore brought in Seth Smith to cover themselves should Trumbo head elsewhere, but Trumbo adds a dimension to the club that they need. He can play the outfield against left handers, moving Smith or Hyun Soo Kim to the bench. When there is a righty on the mound, he can DH, making room for a better defender in the outfield. He can play first base to give Davis a day off. He provides some continuity at both DH and in the outfield that we have not seen under Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter. It really is a win-win situation for both parties.
The hold up is the finances, but the front office has to be weary of what life could be like without Trumbo. The outfield isn’t exactly stacked with a plethora of talent. More importantly, the lineup just is not the same without him. There are not many players in Major League Baseball capable of hitting 40-plus homers, whether they play at Camden Yards or not. Trumbo gives them the pop to protect Davis and the rest of the power bats.
Three years at a number just north of $15 million a year would make sense for Trumbo. The Orioles have some extra room on the payroll after dealing Yovani Gallardo and signing Welington Castillo to a smaller contract than Matt Wieters demanded a year ago. Mark has earned a raise after hitting 47 Trumbombs, but it does not hamper the team financially either.
It was perfect match last season and should be for another three. We thought exactly the same about Davis this time last year. The two sides need each other. It’s time to get something done.