We are more than halfway through the 2014 MLB season, and this seems like a good time to reflect upon how “blockbuster” trades the prior offseason have worked out thus far. Obviously it’s too early to formulate a concrete sentiment. I mean, it honestly takes years to fully comprehend the effectiveness of a deal. But this should be a fun and, hopefully, insightful exercise. Today, we’ll focus on the three-team trade between the Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
This was a trade that seemingly benefited all parties. The Angels needed starting pitching badly, and that’s exactly what they received in Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs. Arizona desired protection for Paul Goldschmidt in the lineup, so trading for slugger Mark Trumbo was sensible. Adam Eaton, who was the centerpiece of the deal for the White Sox, was young and had a very high-ceiling. All said, it was hard to pinpoint a true winner. Even more so if you looked at Mark Trumbo through the eyes of advanced metrics. Nevertheless, the trajectory of how the swap would pan out for each team seemed volatile. Well, through half a season, an early winner has yet to be crowned.
Trumbo’s spent a majority of the season sidelined with a stress fracture on his left foot. As a result, the right-handed slugger has been limited to just 21 games this season. In those games, however, he played reasonably well, slashing an admirable .210/.264/.506 clip. Ironically, Trumbo was activated off the disabled list Friday as he seeks to add life to the anemic Diamondbacks.
Mark wasn’t the only piece the D’backs added during the December 10th trade. They also acquired minor-league pitcher A.J. Schugel from the Angels and minor-league outfielder Brandon Jacobs from the White Sox. Schugel in 93 innings of work with Double-A Mobile has been exceptional. He’s pitched to the tune of a nifty 3.68 ERA and 3.00 FIP this year. Jacobs, on the other hand, has been sub-par in Single-A Visalia this season with a mediocre 89 wRC+.
Now moving on to the White Sox.
Eaton has been average in his inaugural season in the Windy City. In 324 plate appearances, the 5 foot 8 outfielder has compiled an underwhelming .271/.340/.370 slash line, which is complemented by good athleticism in the field and on the base paths.
Lastly, the Angels’ two southpaws (Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago), whom they acquired in the exchange, have done more or less what was expected of them. Santiago has somewhat bounced back after a sluggish start to the season. Overall, in 64 innings, he’s posted a pedestrian 4.50 ERA and 4.12 FIP. Despite his odd mechanics, Skaggs has fared well in 2014. A nice 4.15 ERA and 3.59 FIP has been produced in 14 starts.
Sure, the Angels probably have benefited the most from the trade at this juncture, but going forward it remains uncertain who’ll prevail. Mark Trumbo’s absence has made it hard to accurately depict the future ramifications of this trade. However, let’s remember that his poor on-base skills and defensive shortcomings limit his value. We get a fairly good barometer looking at numbers before and after the deal, although, ultimately, the usefulness of this trade for each team will be determined a ways down the road.