The Baltimore Orioles have a pair of contracts that are not doing the team any favors, but one is much worse than the other.
And, it sure would be nice to be able to deal Mark Trumbo to someone who could actually use him. Because he doesn’t have a set role with the Orioles. He is a DH, but he’s not the best one on the team.
How he got to Birdland
His route to Baltimore came via a trade with the Seattle Mariners. They traded him to get something of value as he was approaching free agency. And, as his walk-year approached at the end of 2016, Trumbo hit 47 home runs. This now seems like a massive fluke that will most likely never be repeated by the right-handed hitter.
Prior to 2016, Trumbo never hit more than 34 dingers in one season – and that was in 2013 with the Los Angeles Angels when he was 27 years old. For some strange reason, 2016 just seemed to work for him. And, he capitalized on it. To the tune of $37.5 million over three years with the Orioles. In 2017, he earned $11.5 million and in the next two years, he gets another $1 million added to his salary. So, the O’s still owe him $26 million.
Is he worth it? He was, but he isn’t now.
Using WAR to determine contracts
There is a formula that calculates WAR and financial value of a player. Fangraphs featured a piece about this back in 2009, where they assigned a dollar amount to the wins a player delivered with their WAR value. Back in 2009, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs calculated that each positive WAR was worth $4.5 million. Now, the number is closer to $7 million.
Trumbo’s WAR in 2016 was 1.6. So, he would have been worth $11.2 (using $7 million for +1 WAR) – which is close to what he got in 2017. However, he didn’t perform at the same rate in 2017. His WAR was -0.6. But, since MLB contracts are guaranteed, the Orioles can’t do anything about his contract. Unless another team really wants to have a guy who can hit an average of 25 home runs per year.
The problem with Trumbo
The problem with Trumbo is that he really isn’t anything but a DH. He’s not a defensive juggernaut, in fact, he’s a liability in the field. He’s never recorded a season with a positive defensive WAR. And, the O’s have other hitters who can rake better than Trumbo can. Think Trey Mancini or even Chris Davis. Even though Davis had a sad, sad batting average of .215, his other batting stats were notably better than Trumbo’s.
Trumbo’s contract, even though it is much less than Davis’s, is troublesome. The two are the same age (31), but their athletic ability is significantly different. Yes, Davis had a down year, but he is in much better shape that Trumbo and he has proven he can make highlight-reel plays on defense. But, like Trumbo, if Davis’s WAR was taken into consideration, he would owe the Orioles money – as his performances actually cost the team wins.
Wouldn’t it be nice to trade away both of these contracts? And, the Marlins think they’ve got it rough…everyone wants Giancarlo Stanton, but no one wants Trumbo or Davis.