The Orioles are "in the mix" of teams who have checked in the availability of Seattle first baseman Mark Trumbo, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Remember always the first law of baseball rumors: Probably nothing will happen.
Trumbo is believed to be on the trade block as the Mariners want to shave his anticipated $9 million 2016 salary from the books in order to spend money elsewhere. Trumbo made $6.9 million in the 2015 season and is heading into his final year of arbitration before free agency. Between the Diamondbacks and Mariners, he batted .262/.310/.449 over 142 games. That included 22 home runs. He also struck out 132 times.
That's not exactly an inspiring level of performance for a player the Orioles would have to give up an asset to acquire, then pay $9 million in the subsequent season. In Trumbo's five full big league seasons, he has had an on-base percentage below the Belanger line (.300) three times. His career OBP is exactly .300 over 2,760 plate appearances. Woof.
If that's the case, why even check in on him? For one, there's little harm in asking. If it turns out that Seattle is so anxious to clear that salary off the books that the Orioles could get him for very little, it makes a bit more sense. Trumbo is not a good baseball player, but he's not a failure either. He's a player who hits for a low batting average, and doesn't walk. When he hits the ball, though, it can go a long way. He peaked at 34 home runs in the 2013 season for the Angels.
In other words, he's basically been an Orioles hitter for years. He just hasn't been playing for the Orioles in that time.
Presumably, the Orioles wouldn't be sniffing around about Trumbo if they felt like that salary expenditure would shut them out of the Chris Davis pursuit.
Still, they can't exactly wait around with all their eggs in the Davis basket. As a backup plan that they could still use if they do later sign Davis, Trumbo makes a certain kind of sense, even while being an underwhelming name. Trumbo has logged about 2,000 innings in the outfield in his big league career. He's performed about as you'd expect for a first baseman standing in the outfield. If he hits 30+ homers, that's still a big improvement over the nonsense the Orioles had in left field this season. He could also be a DH.
Would I really want him? No. But I also know the O's could do worse. They might feel like Trumbo is a safer backup plan for Davis' potential departure than relying on the winner of a spring training battle between Christian Walker and Trey Mancini. They might be right about that. And hey, in his career he bats .267/.313/.511 against left-handed pitching, so he's got that going for him.