Sep 10, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Los Angeles Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo (44) hits a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Should Avoid Mark Trumbo

August 20, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo (44) reacts after striking out in the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals have stated that they are hoping to come out of the Winter Meetings with an impact bat. Aside from second base, the lack of a true power hitter may be the biggest hole in their lineup at this point. With the meetings picking up, some players that could theoretically fit that role could become available.

One of those players that has been put on the block has been the Los Angeles Angels Mark Trumbo. Trumbo would seemingly fit the type of player that the Royals would be interested in, averaging over thirty home runs over the past three seasons. He is also under team control until 2017, possibly providing the Royals with an asset they could look to secure.

However, that power and ability to be retained until 2017 are about the only positives that Trumbo would provide for the Royals. He has been below average at first base, and terrible as a corner outfielder. On the field, Trumbo’s best position would be as a designated hitter. With the Royals, he would seemingly be blocked at every position in the field. Trumbo is not going to take the place of Alex Gordon or Eric Hosmer, and the Royals have better outfield options in right than what Trumbo could be. There would also be no point in bringing Trumbo in to be the designated hitter as Billy Butler is a far better all around hitter.

At the plate, Mark Trumbo has been thoroughly underwhelming when he is not hitting home runs. He does not draw walks, and strikes out in over 25% of his at bats. His on base percentage is under .300 for his career, with 2012 being the only time that Trumbo was on base over 30% of the time. In fact, Trumbo’s .234/.294/.453 batting line in 2013 was the worst of his career.

Is there a chance that Trumbo just needs a change of scenery and could be a buy low option? Perhaps, but at this point he does not appear to be worth acquiring. Not only would Trumbo not be able to provide much offensively, but he just does not have a position.

Mark Trumbo would be the power bat that the Royals need, but he would not provide anything else for Kansas City. The Royals would be better off just staying away.

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  • Keith Santee

    I am confused as to why you say he is a bad defender at first base. Fangraphs has him rated as one of the best last season and consistently good over the past three years. Still would not want him because of the low OBP and strikeout rates.

    • Dave Hill

      Compared to Hosmer? He’s not worth starting at first. Over the last couple of seasons, he has had a below average range factor and has been worth two runs saved above average. I just don’t see where he would slot in the lineup.

  • Ardent Shepherd

    I agree with Keith. Trumbo would be an upgrade on all fronts to Butler. He hits RBIs and HRs and can move faster than a beached whale. I’ll take the strikeouts over the DPs with his big production numbers. DHs aren’t OBP guys. If they produce SLG and HR/RBI I won’t complain about a DH.

    • Dave Hill

      Don’t see how he would be an upgrade over Butler, except in the power department. He strikes out a lot, doesn’t draw walks and really does not provide much aside from hitting home runs.

      I’m ok with a lower on base percentage, but a career number under .300 is just not acceptable. While the Royals need power, having a lineup that continually gets on base can put pressure on the opposition. They still need a bat for the middle of the lineup, but Trumbo is certainly not the best option.

      • Ardent Shepherd

        Butler has led the league twice in double plays hit into – 2010 & 2013. I’d much rather have strikeouts than those inning killing double plays. The main responsibility for the DH is to produce runs, not hit for average. Butler has NOT produced runs, Trumbo has.

        • Eric Akers

          Over the last three years, Trumbo has 282 RBIs, Butler has 284. Trumbo has scored 216 runs to Butler’s 208.

          The Angels offense during those years in runs scored ranked at 17th, 4th, and 7th while the Royals are at 10th, 20th, and 18th. They have produced similar results while the Angels have had a much better offense for 2 of those 3 years. Not that I think this is the best way to compare the two.

        • Michael Engel


          Outs made in 2013: Trumbo – 473 (plus 36 for 18 GIDP equals 509); Butler – 407 (plus 56 for 28 GIDP equals 463). They were 10 PA apart. Trumbo is an out machine and frankly, he probably would have been closer in GIDP if he wasn’t an all or nothing contact swinger. He struck out 184 times. He’s Adam Dunn – without the elite walking ability.

          He hit homers, yes. But he only outdoubled Butler in a down year by 3.

          OPS+ in 2013: Butler 116, Trumbo 109.
          Ever notice how usually the team with the most runners left on base in a game actually scores more runs? Getting on base turns into runs. If a player gets on base more often, they’ll be more productive usually than a player who doesn’t. Ever notice how the top run scoring teams in the league are usually the ones who lead in OBP? The Cardinals had the second-fewest homers in the NL last year but were the top scoring team in the league. Why? OBP. Make fewer outs.

          OBP produces runs. Butler in a down year was 26th in the AL in wRC+ (116). Trumbo, in a career high HR and RBI year, was 40th (106)

          Butler doesn’t have the gaudy numbers in the HR dept but he’s consistently been a run producer despite that. At his worst, he’s a better contributor than Trumbo at his best.

          Another note on GIDP – look at the leaders year by year. Cabrera, Pujols, etc. It’s usually one of the better hitters in the game because they’re hitting 3rd or 4th all year and hit the ball hard.

          • cardsfanatik

            I agree with what your saying, and I’m not advocating getting rid of Butler to trade for a guy like Trumbo, but I am saying I would like to see a power hitter in the middle of this line-up. The Royal’s are not going to win without one. Its that simple. BB is not a power threat. He had a career year in 2012, and probably won’t repeat those power numbers. I don’t want to get rid of him however, but I would love to see a 30 HR guy hitting in this order. I really don’t care about his OBP as long as he’s driving in 90-100. I would not pick Trumbo “over” Butler. Would have liked to have them BOTH. I’m tired of the Royal’s going cheap every damn year. If this is the “year”, they better step up.

          • Michael Engel

            Payroll will be at a record high for the franchise this season. How is that “cheap”? They went after Beltran. They’re kicking tires on Infante. I think they can still go out and get another pitcher.

            And anyway, Butler has driven in 90-100 RBI in 3 of his 5 full MLB seasons, so he fits your criteria, homers or not.

          • cardsfanatik

            BB is fat and slow. He clogs up bases, and can’t play a position. He is a good hitter, not an ELITE hitter. He has been what this team needs for ONE year. That does not make a middle of the order bat for me. You are going to defend Butler, and thats fine, everyone has their favorites, but that 10 million your paying Butler to could go a long way to adding a TRUE middle of the order bat. And to your “record payroll” comment, its hard to not increase payroll from some of the payroll’s that tight ass Glass has rolled onto the field. The simple fact is, this team is just as shitty as last years team. You replaced Santana with Vargas, and Frenchy with Aoki. You tell me how that adds up to a playoff caliber team. Not picking a fight with you, just stating facts.

        • jimfetterolf

          Miguel Cabrera has also led the league in GDPs. All that means is that the grounders a player hits are screaming one-hoppers.

          For our readers, we are talking about 30 or so DPs per year, a little less than one every five games. Not really a big deal but has become a fad stat for knocking Billy.

          • cardsfanatik

            You are correct. However, its not fair to compare Cabrera to Butler. That’s like comparing a Chevette to a Corvette. Butler is not near the player Cabrera is, and if Butler put up Miggy numbers, noone would care about his DP’s. I do agree with you though, DP’s are disheartening yes, but not the end of the world. But my only concern is this, the Royal’s have not done anything to an offense that finished next to last in most categories last year, other than add Aoki. Its not going to be enough. I’m tired of Dayton and David blowing smoke up everyone’s asses about how they are going to do what it takes. They have NO intention of doing what it takes. They are going to go into next year with the same broken down, non producing offense that they had last year, and pray that everyone doubles their production. Its getting old, and tiresome to watch. You lose Santana’s numbers, and replace them with Vargas. Take some damn relievers, and a young starter, and trade for a bat. One that is going to hit 30 HR’s and drive in 100. Then package BB to Seattle for Ackley if you want to save money, but BB is not the middle of the order bat that KC “needs”. He is a good hitter yes, but not good enough to be your “main” man. I don’t think Trumbo is a better hitter, but someone that hits for more power in this line-up is NECESSARY. And hoping that Mushytacos turns a corner, or that Hosmer hits all year like he did the last of last year, is just asinine. Its like wanting in one hand, and shitting in the other and seeing which fills up first. HOPING everyone comes out and has career years, is totally irresponsible as a franchise, and an insult to your fans.

          • jimfetterolf

            You do realize that David Ortiz and Chris Davis probably aren’t 30 homer guys for the Royals?

            I think the team is in good shape at the moment and just hope they don’t make any dumb trades of the Big Three kids. Biggest hole left is Moose and I’m still thinking of moving Gordo to 3rd if Moose doesn’t look fixed.

            As for Santana, he’s replaced by Duffy. Vargas replaces Bruce Chen. Looks like Ventura or one of the ‘pen arms replaces Mendoza. I like the team now much better than the one that started last year, so we’ll just have to let it play out.

          • cardsfanatik

            I guess I’m not near as optimistic as you are. And I don’t believe the Royal’s are that much of a better team right now. A little yes, not enough. Duffy will not replace Santana’s numbers. Vargas will probably be what Chen was, and your offense still sucks. No power, and not enough consistent contact. Hosmer will be ok, IF he continues. BB is something in between ’12 and ’13. Cain is Cain, streaky as hell. Gordon will hit around .285 with around 20 dingers. Perez will be ok. Escobar is a black hole at the plate, but a wizard at SS. Boni is a wild card. Moose has had more than enough PA’s to prove what he is, and he is NOT going to be much. Aoki has solid OBP numbers, but no power. So when Aoki gets on, it will be up to the rest of the line-up,(who couldn’t drive in runs last year btw) to drive him in. I’m not sure why noone sees the urgency to add a SURE thing to the line-up. Moving Gordon back to third, just begs for giving him fits at the plate. Defensive position for whatever reason does effect offensive production in a lot of players. I’m not claiming to know exactly what to do, but this line-up needs help from the outside. They didn’t do it last year, there is nothing to make me believe they can do it this year. Its all “what if’s” and “maybe’s”. The fans of a 30 year crappy franchise deserve better.

          • cardsfanatik

            And David Ortiz and Chris Davis ARE 30 HR guys even at Kauffman stadium.

          • jimfetterolf

            Santana wouldn’t duplicate his ’13 numbers this year, as the Royals did get defensively weaker for a fly ball pitcher and Santana had what may be a fluke season for him.

            As for what the hitters will do, Aoki will walk a few times, Hosmer should continue his second half as it was based on a return to good mechanics. Not sure on Gordon, still think the concussion had something with his second half drop, but a return to his normal is enough. Billy got pitched around, so the most important thing for him is line-up protection. I might put him ahead of Gordon at #3. Salvy is fairly well predictable, Cain a little iffy with health, but if the parts work he should at least be his average of .266/316/.380. With his defense that’s a 3.4 fW player according to fangraphs.

            Bonifacio should be alright, slap the ball on the ground and run. Escobar needs to do the same thing. Neither needs a career year, just a solid one within their abilities.

            Moose is the biggest offensive question mark and I have no idea whether he’ll mature and produce or if he’s a bust. That’s why I’ld make sure Alex got lots of reps at 3rd this spring.

            As for last year, 86 wins and matched up well with several play off teams, including the Tigers. Impressed me. This year they’ll have two hotter arms and won’t have Frenchy and Getz. Looks an 85-95 win team, based on health and the usual luck. I figure 90 wins is a good call and will contend to the end.

            As for the fans, blame Ewing Kauffman and move on, since he won’t care. I don’t care either. For me the team is inteeresting simply because it was so bad when Dayton Moore cam on, so is interesting from the POV of building a solid, sustainable club starting with less than expansion teams have. Bet Moore would have liked to have had an expansion draft his first year.

        • Patrick Sullivan

          Cardsfan – you are delusional. Where is this unicorn player of which you speak?!? He must be slim and fast (not sure why if your ultimate goal is HR’s, but no matter); can play above average defense at preferably a position where we need him (2nd or RF); he doesn’t strike out, BB:K
          ratio of greater than 2:1; hits 50-plus doubles; 30-plus HR’s, and knocks in 100+. You just described a combination of Paul Goldschmidt, Mike Trout, and Mickey Mantle, but faster, more disciplined at the plate; and oh yeah, he plays second.

          Get real – you are searching for a leprechaun riding a unicorn, being led by reindeer. He doesn’t exist, especially not for the Royals and not from the free agent market. We have elite defense; elite bullpen; above average rotation (if not better); some very solid OBP guys; and some young talented players both in KC and knocking on the door. This team is built like the Giants of the last few years; the Braves of early 90′s, and yes, even the Cardinals of every year since 2006. Cardinals do not hit for power, they had great on-base guys, insanely (and frankly unmatchable) timely hitting; and 2-3 20-plus HR guys. And why did they eventually crumble? Why do all big hitting teams crumble in the post-season? HR’s dried up, timely hitting also; and sh*t-for-brains defensive plays.

          Try meditation or running or Xanax. And go to a political site…your pessimism on every front makes for the worst kind of fan – one that isn’t!

  • Eric Akers

    I was looking at him to compare him to Moose, as 3B was the only position I could see him at for the Royals. The difference between the two seem to be that Trumbo strikes out more but hits the ball hard. They both swing at pitches in and out of the zone about the same rate, but Moose makes way more contact.

    Of course, the Diamondbacks now have Trumbo, so the Royals should have no problem staying away from him.

  • cardsfanatik

    I honestly don’t care who they trade for or sign. The simple fact is, they will NEVER be a championship team w/o more power in the line-up. I’m not a huge Trumbo fan either, but having someone that hits 30 HR’s would be very nice. If they don’t get a Trumbo, they need to seriously be trying to sign Corey Hart or Mike Morse. Most guys that hit for big power, aren’t OBP guys. Its silly to think that the Royal’s can afford a guy that hits 30+ HR’s while having an OBP of .350 and up. If they can find a guy that hits for big power, they should sign him, doesn’t matter what his OBP is. If the Royal’s could afford a guy with big power, and good on base, they would have signed Pujols.(Just a cost example of trying to have POWER + AVG + OBP) You can’t always have both, and most of the time, high HR’s mean high SO’s. I am ready for the Royal’s to have a “true” power threat. I’m sick of relying on the “what if’s” and the “maybe’s”. “What if” Moose doesn’t suck this year, yada yada, and blah blah. If Dayton does not sign a guy that has proven true power this year for this line-up, I look at this off-season as a failure. I honestly don’t care if they sign Mark Reynolds, and put him at 3rd instead of Moose. At least with Reynolds .200 average, he’s going to hit 25-30 HR’s and drive in 75-100 runs. This line-up right now is no better than last years line-up, with the exception of Aoki…….An anemic offense last year, has been given NO boost from ANYWHERE. You lost 200 + innings of 3.00 ERA pitching, to replace him with Vargas….Where the hell are they making improvements? They are once AGAIN relying on hopes and prayers. And I think its complete bullshit. Some can say that “they turned a corner after All-Star break”. To me, they proved NOTHING. They finished 3rd in their division. That is NOT a team I get excited about, and so far, they are not a “better” team than they were last year. When are the fans of KC going to stop getting screwed? Sorry, but without another few moves, it won’t be this year folks.