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The Trumbo deal: will no-one think of the children?

If you hadn't figured out my opinion of the trade already, you haven't been paying much attention. But if you want a summary: I do not think it improves the team significantly, if at all, for 2014, while making it older and more expensive. Pretty much the textbook definition of a bad deal.

By Alex E. Proimos ( [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Problem 1: addressing a non-existent problem

A lack of home-runs are not necessarily an issue. The National League champion Cardinals hit fewer home-runs than the Diamondbacks, and managed to survive. The Dodgers had only eight more. Conversely, second in the National League were the Cubs, who had 42 more home-runs than us, and were totally wretched overall. Heck, the 2012 Diamondbacks had 35 more home-runs than this year, but the net result was exactly the same. Overall offense is what matters, and that was an issue for us last season, not home-runs.

Problem 2: not actually fixing the real issue

Sure, Trumbo hit 34 bombs last year, but with a batting average of .234 and an on-base percentage below .300. His OPS for the season was a respectable .747, but for context, A.J. Pollock's with the Diamondbacks was .730. Obviously, there are park adjustments to be made, and there's no doubt Trumbo is a bigger offensive threat than Pollock. But the gap is not as big as you might think, due to Trumbo's solitary dimension: if he hits the ball, it goes a long way. His weaknesses elsewhere counter that significantly, in particular his defense. He has extremely limited outfield experience, and the metrics there suggest he's well below average.

Problem 3: overpaying for the talent

I might have considered a trade of Tyler Skaggs for Trumbo, straight up. Skaggs' stock may have dropped since he was a top prospect, but he's still a 22-year-old with major-league experience, who is now under the Angels' control through the end of 2019. I'm still perplexed by the fact that the team flat-out refused to consider a trade of Skaggs + Cahill for Trumbo, but figured replacing Cahill with five years of Adam Eaton made perfectly sense. But never mind the long term, per Dan Szymborski's ZIPS system, this trade is going to hurt the Diamondbacks this season. For we have:

  • Skaggs LAA projection - 10-9, 3.81, 158.1 IP, 14 HR, 63 BB, 140 K, 99 ERA+, 1.9 WAR.
  • Eaton CHW projection - 251/338/348, 1.5 WAR
  • Trumbo ARI projection - 269/320/514, 35 HR, 112 RBI. -10 in LF, 2.0 WAR.

Even if we discount Skaggs entirely, due to our pitching depth, and the fact that Eaton's projection in Chicago is hurt by the cavernous Cell, simply replacing Eaton with Trumbo gives us an extra one-half of a win. For which we will probably be paying close to ten times the price, Trumbo now being in arbitration, and likely to get about $4.7 million, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

I just don't like the trade. It's giving up future talent for a dubious return; the team just got out from under the contract of a one-dimensional outfielder with poor defense. For them to trade a pair of their leading prospects to acquire another seems almost the very definition of madness: repeating the same thing, over and over, and expecting a different result. But got to love the way Adam Eaton reacted to the news; got to wish him all the best in Chicago.