The Seattle Mariners have reached a deal to trade first baseman/DH Mark Trumbo to the Baltimore Orioles, according to reports from Bob Dutton of the Seattle Times and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Backup catcher Steve Clevenger is headed back to Seattle in the deal:
Orioles have a deal for trumbo. Clevenger will go to mariners. @TNT_Mariners on it
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 2, 2015
This is already the third time Trumbo has been traded in his five-year career, and the second time in which the trade has been orchestrated by Jerry Dipoto. After spending the first three years of his career with the Los Angeles Angels, Trumbo was traded by then-Angels GM Dipoto to the Arizona Diamondbacks before the 2014 season. He was then dealt to the Mariners in what would be one of the final major trades by former Seattle GM Jack Zudenkirk.
Dipoto took over as Seattle’s president of baseball operations at the end of the 2015 season, and has already made several moves in order to improve a roster that only won 76 games in 2015. Dipoto’s focus has been on making the Mariners a more athletic, defense-oriented team, and Trumbo does not fit that mold. Clevenger, who was made expendable after starting catcher Matt Wieters accepted the Orioles’ qualifying offer last month, will help a catching corps that was one of the worst positional groups in baseball history last season. Mariners catchers registered an OPS+ of 36 (league average is 100) in 2015. Clevenger also has some interesting trade trivia of his own – he was part of Baltimore’s return in the deal that sent Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop to the Chicago Cubs. Arrieta, of course, went on to win the 2015 NL Cy Young Award.
The main aspect of this deal is Trumbo, however, and what his presence means for the Orioles’ pursuit of star slugger Chris Davis. Trumbo, like Davis, is primarily known for his power and has the ability to play both first base and the outfield. Although it’s too early to rule out the chances of Davis’s return to Baltimore, the acquisition of Trumbo gives the Orioles a fallback option if they fail to retain Davis, or a full-time DH if Davis does come back.
In just over five years at the MLB level, Trumbo has slashed .250/.300/.458 with 7.9 WAR. The 29-year-old slugger has 131 career home runs, and has gone over 30 homers in a season twice. The hitter-friendly confines of Camden Yards could serve to increase Trumbo’s value before he goes out on the free-agent market following the conclusion of the 2016 season.