The Trumbo Effect

The Orioles have signed Mark Trumbo to a 3 year/$37.5 million deal pending the outcome of a physical according to numerous media sources.  We’ll find out the particulars on the deal today as it could contain deferred money – an Orioles’ staple in deals lately.

So what does this mean for the rest of the roster?

Well just like the Orioles, my thought process has evolved on this as the offseason has progressed and transactions have influenced the construction of the 2017 Orioles.  Here’s how it is shaping up right now:

The Orioles needed at least one another right handed outfielder to platoon with Seth Smith or a left-handed outfielder that could hit both left handed pitching and right handed pitching pushing Smith to DH .   Instead they get a right-handed 1B/DH that knows how to play the outfield.   The good news is that Trumbo,  who played the OF quite a bit against RHP last season to get Pedro Alvarez’s left handed bat into the lineup,  can go back to being primarily a DH against RHP –  something he was fairly successful at last season with a 146 wRC+.  Seth Smith will likely play RF while Trumbo is the DH against RHP.

It isn’t good news however for Trey Mancini who is now likely squeezed out of a roster spot with the Orioles needing to carry two oufielders. The Orioles will likely carry Rule 5 pick Aneury Tavarez because of Trumbo and Hyun Soo Kim’s  defense in the later innings when Joey Rickard is already playing in one of the corner OF spots against LHP.

Kim will also get more playing time out of the arrangement as the Orioles will either have to let him hit vs. LHP or wind up DHing one of their right-handed bats and giving playing time to Tavarez.  He’s proven he can hit LHP before in his last two seasons in the KBO, so hopefully he would be able to show he had similar ability.

Trumbo should be the final positional roster move for the Orioles so let’s take a look at a couple of lineups that Buck could put out there with him in the fold:

Lineup vs. RHP
LF Kim
RF Smith
3B Machado
1B Davis
DH Trumbo
CF Jones
2B Schoop
C Castillo
SS Hardy

Bench:  UT Flaherty, OF Rickard, OF Tavarez, C Joseph

Lineup vs. LHP
RF Rickard
C Castillo
3B Machado
DH Trumbo
1B Davis
CF Jones
2B Schoop
SS Hardy
LF Kim

Bench:  UT Flaherty, OF Smith, OF Tavarez, C Joseph

The Orioles’ lineup against LHP should be better than last season, with the addition of Castillo and a full season of Joey Rickard, but Trumbo is going to have to get back to his career wRC+ of 113 instead of the 56 wRC+ he had last season in order for there to be a dramatic improvement.  Castillo batting second may seem a bit odd, but after Manny Machado (144 wRC+) and Joey Rickard (131 wRC+), Castillo had the best performance against LHP last season (124 wRC+).

As for their lineup against RHP, with Kim and Smith at the top of the lineup and a 3-6 of Machado, Davis, Trumbo and Jones, the Orioles should be a very dangerous club.   Kim and Smith will hopefully give the Orioles more runners on the basepaths for the middle of the lineup to cause maximum damage when they hit the ball over the fence.

Trumbo certainly was a consistently dangerous bat in the first half of the season, and if he can get back to that the Orioles will benefit from his presence in the lineup as long as they keep him at DH. However, his history has shown that Trumbo is more of a first half player, so the other bats will need to step up to avoid the inconsistency we have seen from the Birds in the summer months.

Top image:  CC Image courtesy of Keith Allison on Flickr

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