MLB free agency: 2019/2020 FAs that should be moved

Yasiel Puig: He'll be a free agent next winter. Could that make him trade bait now? (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Yasiel Puig: He'll be a free agent next winter. Could that make him trade bait now? (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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MLB free agency
ARLINGTON, TX – AUGUST 5: Mark Trummbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates with teammates after hitting his second home run of the game against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on August 5, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. The Orioles won 9-6. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

Mark Trumbo

The Baltimore Orioles lost 115 games in 2018, and they’ll probably lose at least 100 again in 2019. With that on the record, what’s the point of keeping Mark Trumbo?

Trumbo hit 47 home runs in 2016. But he’ll be 33 on opening day, he has a career .250 average, he is owed $13.5 million, and his contract is up in October. What part of that biography argues for keeping him?

The real question isn’t whether new Orioles general manager Mike Elias should trade Trumbo, but what could be obtained in return for him? His production has fallen off from those 47 home runs to 23 and then 17, from 667 plate appearances to 358, and from an .850 OPS to .764. In other words, he has become an average big leaguer.

On the other hand, there is almost no asset Elias could obtain in exchange for Trumbo that the talent-bereft Orioles couldn’t make use of.  They enter the Elias era with limited core assets: outfielder Trey Mancini, young infielder Renato Nunez and pitcher Dylan Bundy being the most obvious.

So trade Trumbo for whatever he will bring, even if the asset you get in return is a year or two away from major league level. In the long run, the move makes sense, even if all you do is unpack his $13.5 million salary.