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Hot Take Tuesday: Orioles Should Trade Mark Trumbo in July

Mark Trumbo swings in a spring training game.
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A few weeks ago, I prefaced my hot take article by saying that I had considered writing about how Ubaldo Jimenez should stay in the rotation despite his struggles, based purely on the fact that our offense is good enough to bail him out most of the time. Since then, Jimenez has allowed 17 runs (14 earned) in just 12 innings over a span of four starts, two of which lasted under two innings. That’s bad no matter what metrics, advanced or not, you take into account.

With Tuesday’s recall of RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (I spelled that correctly on the first try, by the way…), many were wondering if it was time for Ubaldo and his $50 million contract to hit the showers for good. Instead, it’s Vance Worley who will go on the 15-day DL with a groin strain. Looks like Ubaldo will stick around, at least until Yovani Gallardo returns from injury.

So, now, it’s time for me to come up with yet another unpopular opinion. I’ve covered just about every topic already and the season isn’t even half over. And, to be honest, it isn’t easy to come up with an opinion with which most fans would disagree, but I’ll give it another try anyway. Here goes:

The Orioles should make an attempt to trade Mark Trumbo at July’s MLB trade deadline.

Be right back, dousing my fingertips – which are now on fire – in some water.

Trumbo leads the Orioles in home runs and runs batted in and falls in the top three in just about every other offensive category. He’s in the same company with Manny Machado and Chris Davis, which says a lot about how much he has contributed to this team. That said, the Orioles have a good lineup even without Trumbo, and they need starting pitching as badly as my neighbors need to stop blasting music at 1:30 in the morning during the week.

The Orioles do not currently have the starting pitching depth to make a deep postseason run. Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman are the only two MLB-caliber starters in the rotation and there are no guarantees that Tillman continues his incredible pace. Teams need AT LEAST three good starting pitchers if they want to compete in October and, unless Gallardo turns a corner, the O’s don’t have that right now.

Unfortunately for the Orioles, they do not have the farm depth to trade for a pitcher like Sonny Gray or Jake Odorizzi, who may be available at the trade deadline. That’s where Trumbo comes into play. Postseason-hopeful teams looking for an offensive rental should be attracted to Trumbo and willing to part with a decent starting pitcher in order to get him.

The three teams that stand out most to me as potential fits for Trumbo are the New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, and Cleveland Indians. All three of those teams have good starting pitching depth and could use a bat like Trumbo’s to boost their offense. The Mets especially need a more high-powered offense if they want to make a run at their second straight World Series berth.

While there is no way the Mets part with Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom and likely not Steven Matz, I think targeting Matt Harvey or Zack Wheeler is at least a little bit realistic. As for the Cardinals, Mike Leake or Jaime Garcia could be considered expendable, though I’m not sure they need a bat like Trumbo as much as other teams might. The Indians have a couple guys in Corey Kluber and Josh Tomlin that would look pretty darn good in black and orange.

Our problem, as I mentioned, is the lack of prospects within the organization. For that, we can blame Dan Duquette. We’ll have to see if Duquette can work his way out of his own mess by figuring out a way to trade for a quality starting pitcher without surrendering the Harveys and Siscos and Mountcastles of the organization. That’s why Trumbo becomes a key piece in any potential trade discussions.

Another benefit to possibly trading Trumbo is that it would allow more playing time for Hyun Soo Kim and Nolan Reimold, and maybe even open a spot for Mike Yastrzemski, who is seeing the ball very well with AAA Norfolk after earning a promotion from Bowie.

The bottom line is that the Orioles offense would still be good enough without Trumbo, but their starting pitching is not currently in good enough shape to give the Orioles a legitimate shot at contending for a World Series this year. That’s why they need to listen if teams inquire about the big slugger.

[cardoza_wp_poll id=”152″]

7 Responses

  1. How about trading Trumbo to a contending team for prospects and flipping those prospects to a struggling team for high-level pitching? I doubt any contending team will give away a good pitcher.

  2. Jonathan is onto what I wanted to do two years ago for Cole Hamels. Three way trade with the third team getting one or more MLB players and the Phillies getting prospects with Hamels becoming an Oriole. I was figuring the O’s would probably have had to take Ryan Howard as well. Similar scenario (different players, teams) might work this year.

  3. It’s not the worst idea ever. Trumbo has shown some regression lately, at least in his average and OBP. However they’d have better luck in a 3 way trade for prospects and then receiving a pitcher from a selling team (Julio Teheran comes to mind). And if the pitcher isn’t all star caliber then the trade isn’t worth it. Kim Rickard and reimold are decent players to cover his outfield spot but they don’t match up to his offensive prowess this year.

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