The trade: The Baltimore Orioles acquired first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for catcher Steve Clevenger. Reports indicate that another Seattle player could be headed to Baltimore as part of the deal.
The reason: The free-agent departures of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis last offseason created gaping holes in both corners of the Orioles' outfield. Those voids remained unfilled during a disappointing 2015 season. Getting Trumbo, who’s spent roughly half of his six-year career playing the outfield, addresses the Birds' biggest need. The move also gives Buck Showalter another option at first base if the O’s aren’t able to re-sign reigning home run champ Chris Davis. The price was right, too -- with catcher Matt Wieters back for another year after accepting Baltimore’s qualifying offer and Caleb Joseph evolving into a solid big-league backstop, Clevenger was expendable.
The impact: Earlier in his career with the Angels, Trumbo was primarily a first baseman. During the last two seasons, with Arizona and Seattle, he’s spent the majority of his time in the outfield. He has 119 career starts in right field and 126 in left. So for an Orioles club that heads into next week’s winter meetings still in search of outfield help and still unsure of how the Davis situation will play out, Trumbo offers flexibility. He also provides power: Since the start of the 2011 season, the 29-year old slugger has clubbed 131 homers. That’s the 14th-most in the majors, and more than Evan Longoria, Justin Upton, and Mark Teixeira, to name a few. On the down side, he’s not known for his glove (minus-2 defensive runs saved for his career) and is yet another free swinger added to a Birds lineup that had a 3.18 K/BB ratio last season, worst in the American League. While adding Trumbo doesn’t necessarily mean the Orioles are preparing for life without Davis, it could have an effect on whether the team re-signs free agent Steve Pearce. Like Trumbo, Pearce is a right-handed power hitter who plays first base and outfield. Losing the lefty-hitting Clevenger deprives the O’s of a hometown favorite (he’s a Baltimore native) and makes their lineup more righty-heavy than it already was. Look for GM Dan Duquette to focus his efforts going forward on adding another lefty bat.