The Los Angeles Angels are "convinced" that they will not be able to find what they believe is fair value in a trade involving first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo, reports Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Los Angeles has been looking to open up payroll by trading Trumbo for young starting pitching.Trumbo is estimated by MLB Trade Rumors to receive $4.7 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility. That number will only increase as he hits arbitration again in each of the next two seasons. The Angels traded center fielder Peter Bourjos to the Cardinals last week for David Freese, and have also been interested in trading away second baseman Howie Kendrick and shortstop Erick Aybar.
The club is likely eyeing a long-term contract extension to lock up superstar youngster Mike Trout. A deal between the two sides could reach somewhere around $300 million for 10 years in this world where Robinson Cano can ask for the same. Such a massive contract will require them to open up some space in the payroll, where they already have bloated contracts aplenty due to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton: Those two combined are owed another $322 million while starting pitchers C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver are also in the middle of fairly large deals.
The Angels were hoping to get a top young starter in return for Trumbo, but the team now realizes no club is likely to offer that. They could possibly settle for a cost-controlled starter who could slot in towards the middle of the rotation, but who may not have the potential to become a top-flight pitcher. After losing Jason Vargas in free agency, the club has a hole in the back of their rotation that needs to be filled.
Trumbo's best asset, of course, is his power. He has hit 95 home runs over three full seasons in the majors, including a career-high 34 in 2013. Trumbo has a career batting line of .250/.299/.469. His best year getting on base came in 2012, when he posted a .317 OBP. His defense isn't great, but it is passable at both a corner outfield spot and first base, and his offensive numbers could improve after leaving pitcher-friendly Angel Stadiumm.
Power has been down the last couple seasons in the MLB, making someone with Trumbo's home run ability valuable. There are very few, if any, free agents on the market who could match Trumbo's ability to hit the ball out of the park. However, given that his long ball prowess is his only big skill, it's understandable why a team wouldn't be willing to meet the price for which the Angels are asking.
Trumbo could still be traded this offseason, but the Angels are realizing that they will have to loosen their demands if they want salary relief.