With the 2013-14 MLB offseason looming, teams are beginning to work out their future plans in an effort to prepare for 2014 and beyond. One such team is the Los Angeles Angels who, coming off a disappointing season, have been rumored to be in the trade market as a possible seller in the offseason.
Mark Trumbo might be the best trade bait the Angels have to offer. He has tons of power, clubbing 95 home runs over the last three seasons, including a career-high 34 in 2013. However, his eye at the plate could use improvement as his career on-base percentage sits under .300 and he puts up big time strikeout numbers.
While the Angels would likely be happy to keep Trumbo, there are reasons the team should also be happy to part with him for the right price. First among those is his salary. Trumbo still has three years of team control remaining, which will make him attractive in a trade. However, those three years will see him be arbitration eligible, meaning he is about to get pricey.
For Los Angeles, another big contract may be unacceptable. The Angels are already paying Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols a combined $310 million for what has been disappointing production thus far. Furthermore, the team has pitchers Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson signed to big deals through 2016 and are paying good-sized contracts to Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar. And while he is still making under a million dollars for now, outfielder Mike Trout is going to receive a monster of a deal, and soon.
The other factor that could push Trumbo out of Los Angeles is the emergence of Kole Calhoun as a viable option in right field. An outstanding hitter in the minor leagues, Calhoun never got much love on top prospect lists. He was called up in late July and asserted himself well, hitting .282/.347/.462 with eight home runs over 58 games.
If the Angels do trade Trumbo, the obvious target would be young, cost-controlled starting pitching. Los Angeles lacks talented arms in their farm system, with the enigmatic Nick Maronde spending all of 2013 in the bullpen. The team will also have holes in their rotation soon, with Jason Vargas a free agent this offseason, Jerome Williams and potentially Joe Blanton both free agents next year, and Tommy Hanson a possible non-tender candidate in arbitration.
Trumbo would be an obvious candidate for a trade to an American League contender looking for added power. He is a poor defensive player and could thrive in a DH role, a position he has played just 40 times over his career. Halos Heaven lists Tampa Bay as a potential trade partner, while the Kansas City Royals are known to have inquired about Trumbo's availability around the trade deadline. The Pirates and Mariners also showed interest and could also be suitors in the offseason.
Trumbo alone likely isn't good enough to bring back an established ace like David Price or a top-flight prospect like the Mariners' Taijuan Walker or the Pirates' Jameson Taillon. A player like the Royals' Yordano Ventura may also be a reach depending on how desperate the Royals are for a big bat. If Los Angeles does make a deal, they would probably like a pitcher who is Major League ready.
With the free agent market lacking in power hitters, the time for the Angels to trade Trumbo might be soon.