For a lot of the offseason, a reunion between Mark Trumbo and the Orioles has just felt like an inevitability, regardless of what story may drip out at a given moment about the team and player breaking off contact. According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, things are back on and the two sides are “getting close to a deal.”
It’s not a coincidence that mid-January is when the Orioles got serious about re-signing Chris Davis last year and now here we are on January 19 and things are possibly coming back together between the O’s and Trumbo.
There are no qualifying offer-attached free agents remaining other than Trumbo. No team has leapt out to sign him. Heyman adds that Trumbo and the Orioles were always one another’s first choice, though why the O’s would view him that way is a mystery that is currently unexplained.
Do the Orioles particularly need Trumbo at this point? Sure, in the sense that you can never have too many home runs, but their #1 need is some kind of right-handed hitting outfield-capable player. Anyone who watched Trumbo in 2016 knows that’s not him, and even if he was outfield-capable, his .608 OPS against lefties suggests he can’t add value as a guy who might play right field against lefties and DH against righties.
If the money is right, why the heck not? I mean, they can’t possibly be dumb enough to have him play in the outfield again, can they? That grim reality can be confronted if it ever arrives. Let’s think of him for now as a designated hitter and sometimes first baseman who will hit a lot of dingers. That’s really only bad news for the Trey Mancini fan club.
At this point, the most important question to ask is whether the Orioles are better with Trumbo over the next two years than they are without him, based on who they could sign or acquire with what remains in the offseason. They’re absolutely better off with the slugger who blossomed in Camden Yards - again, as long as they don’t let him out in the outfield.
Signing Trumbo isn’t getting an exciting new face onto the team. It’s not even really keeping around a long-time beloved Oriole on the team. O’s fans have seen Trumbo for one year in which he hit a lot of glorious dingers, but he hasn’t been one of “our guys” for years.
We will all have different ideas about what the right money is. Presumably, Trumbo will have to take less than he has been seeking by virtue of no one signing him. The last report is that he (well, probably not him personally) asked the Orioles for a $50 million deal over three years.
The Orioles reportedly offered four years and $50-52 million back at the start of the offseason. Based on how the slugger market has developed, even that seems like it may have been an overly generous offer. Their offer from November may have just been for three years and $40 million with an option for a fourth year.
MASN’s Roch Kubatko said that “the price came down” and now a deal could get done. The question is still, how much did the price come down?
Something like a $13 million average annual value is not all that much, whether it’s for three or four years. Less than that would be even better, if they can manage to get it.
With the O’s and Trumbo apparently always wanting to come back to one another, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before they reach an agreement and we find out about the money. Stay tuned!