In his latest offering, ESPN.com's Jim Bowden proposes five trades that could fortify contending teams. His proposal for the Angels is to ship slugging first baseman Mark Trumbo to Tampa Bay in exchange for pitcher Wade Davis.
The Angels could use Davis as their fifth starter, replacing Jerome Williams, or they could put Davis in the back of their bullpen to pair with closer Jordan Walden, giving them two arms that have the potential to shut down the game’s best lineups.
The Rays signed Carlos Pena to a one-year deal but are still looking for that non-arbitration eligible long-term solution at first base. The Rays have enough pitching depth to deal Davis. While Trumbo's not a high-OBP guy, he did hit 29 homers as a rookie and the power is real. Of course, Trumbo is still recovering from a foot injury, so no deal would happen until it heals. The Rays could also wait until July and trade for first-base prospect C.J. Cron, the Angels’ first-round pick from last June, who profiles to be another 30-home run bat. Regardless, the match is there.
Seems fairly reasonable actually, for both teams. The players are the same age, 26, and both are under team control at reasonable salaries. Davis is going into the second year of a four-year, $12.6 million contract and Trumbo won't be eligible for arbitration until after the 2013 season.
The Angels can talk all they want about Trumbo playing other positions, but it seems unlikely he'll play more than a handful of games at third base given his size (6-foot-5), the fact he couldn't do it in the minor leagues and the serious foot injury he's recovering from. He's not going to get any better sitting on the bench most of the year, even if the Angels envision him as the replacement for Torii Hunter in right field beyond 2012.
Tampa Bay is flush with young pitching and Davis (4.22 career ERA) would be a good fit as the Angels' fifth starter, allowing them to keep Jerome Williams and Garrett Richards as injury insurance.
As spring training moves along, the Angels will have enough information to move some of their spare parts, and you know they'll start listening to offers for Trumbo.