"I guess most people would say the trade deadline is where we’ll find the best value. But at this moment, Mark Trumbo is my guy. He gives us something in our lineup that none of our other guys do other than Goldschmidt – a guy who can hit the ball out of the ballpark. (David) Peralta does when he plays. But right now, our main home run threats are Goldschmidt and Trumbo."
-- GM Dave Stewart, June 1
"Seattle expressed interest in (Trumbo) and they've repeatedly expressed interest in him. Sometimes you get to a point where the timing is just right and today was the day."
-- GM Dave Stewart, June 3
The signing of Yasmany Tomas by the Diamondbacks in December apparently signaled the end of Mark Trumbo's time as a Diamondback. Many of the other pieces from the Kevin Towers era were dismantled by the new front-office, the processing beginning at the trade deadline last year, with Martin Prado being sent to the Yankees. Other moves over the winter included the departure of Didi Gregorius and Trevor Cahill, but Trumbo stuck around. In hindsight, I can perhaps see why. He had a severely down year, thanks in part to injury, with a 94 OPS+, compared his career number of 114 to that point. This season showed him healthy and back to normal (115 OPS+).
From the Diamondbacks point of view, this move frees up an outfield spot, and that means, when Jake Lamb comes back off the disabled list, he can play third-base, with Yasmany Tomas moving to the outfield, his regular position in Cuba. There, he'll join lefties Ender Inciarte and David Peralta, plus fellow right-handed hitter A.J. Pollock, and I imagine we'll see more or less the same kind of four-man rotation we've seen so far this year. [Coming into today, the split of outfield PAs was Inciarte 221, Pollock 211, Trumbo 184, Peralta 137]. We may see a few more days of Tomas at third, until Lamb is ready, but I think we can declare the experiment over.
The other piece of immediate relevance is Castillo, who will provide a replacement catcher, something which the team desperately needed, after the loss of Tuffy Gosewisch for the season. He'll be able to platoon with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, keeping the latter away from left-handed pitching, against whom he has a career OPS of less than .600. However, It's going to be interesting to see what the roster moves are going to be in this areas. Do we retain Jordan Pacheco as a third catcher and general utility guy? If not, the departure of Trumbo means we lack anyone obvious who could give Paul Goldschmidt a day off: If so, how do we make room for Lamb? Drop a bullpen arm?
Speaking of which, the trade also marks the end of the Vidal Nuno era. He ends with 98 innings pitched for Arizona, 14 starts plus two relief outings longer than five innings... and no wins at all. If the team had managed to score even one run in the first five innings of his outing on Sunday in Milwaukee, he'd have got that W, but it was not meant to be. Instead, no other pitcher has even thrown fifty innings for the D-backs in their career without a win [the next most is 44, by Felix Rodriguez in 1998]. I was just writing earlier today, how I wouldn't mind seeing what Nuno did in the rotation again; I think I'll leave that in the piece, as a monument to the winless futility of his time here.
Informed sources suggest the team may call up Robbie Ray to take Nuno's place in the bullpen. We already say Ray make a spot start earlier in the year, allowing one run over six innings; this is more likely to be a long relief role, though as noted above, it may last only until the bullpen has recovered, and we need to make room for Jake Lamb. Manager Chip Hale has said he wants to go back down to a standard seven-man bullpen, giving him a five-man bench; however, looking at the schedule, with the team still having eight consecutive games to play before their next off day, I think it may be at least a week or more before the roster is ready for that move
Another possibility is the team adds Dominic Leone to the bullpen. The 23-year-ild has had limited success in the major leagues this year with the Mariners: in 11.1 innings, he has given up 11 hits and, most of concern, walked more people than he has struck out (K:BB ratio of 7:9). He seems to have pitched much better in his rookie season last year, posting a 2.17 ERA, with a 70:25 K:BB ratio 66.1 innings of work. The team will be hoping that's the arm they have obtained, with this season's performance a small sample size aberration.
The other two prospects in the deal are Jack Reinheimer and Gabriel Guerrero. The former seems more like a throw-in, but the latter has some upside, and certainly possesses some good genes - that last name should be familiar, and he is indeed Vladimir's nephew. Gabriel batted .307 with 18 home-runs as a 20-year-old at High-A last season. While he has struggled in 48 games at Double-A, batting .215 with a pair of home-runs, he is still very young for the level, not turning 22 until December. He has played mostly in right field over his minor-league career, but has also seen some center.
I think this was a necessary trade, getting rid of a player who really had one tool, and using that to help address an obvious weakness, while picking up a few potentially useful future pieces. It also reduces costs for next season, freeing up money that can be used to address whatever holes we decided need filling at the end of the year. Sure, it would have been nice to get the kind of value Kevin Towers spent to get Trumbo in the first place, but given he now has a year-plus less control, and the cheapest year at that, this wasn't going to happen. I, for one, welcome our new catcher. Though with one L in his name, he's another I'm sure to mis-spell, more than once!