Posted on January 12, 2017 by Bryan Zarpentine
A new day, as has become typical, means a new twist in the free agency saga of Mark Trumbo, the slugger who led the majors in home runs last year. The latest plot point when it comes to finding Trumbo a place to play in 2017 involves his asking price. Ken Rosenthal reports that Trumbo recently asked the Baltimore Orioles to offer him a three-year deal worth $50 million. Rosenthal also reports that Trumbo later insinuated that he would be willing to accept a three-year deal worth between $40 and $50 million.
This latest report seems to indicate that Trumbo is coming to terms with the market for him not being what he expected it to be after hitting 47 home runs in 2016. Orioles GM Dan Duquette stated publicly on Thursday that the team made an “aggressive” three-year offer to Trumbo early in the offseason. It’s also well documented that Baltimore made a four-year, $52 million offer to Trumbo earlier this winter. Neither deal was to Trumbo’s liking, at least at the time, but it now appears that last year’s home run king is coming around and willing to lower his asking price.
However, it could be too late for Trumbo and the Orioles to sit down at the negotiating table together after talks between the two sides broke off a week before Christmas. Over the weekend, Duquette made comments indicating that the Orioles were learning toward letting Trumbo sign elsewhere so they could collect an extra draft pick.
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It’s also been suggested by some that Trumbo would prefer to sign with a team other than the Orioles, as negotiations this winter have damaged his relationship with the club. At the same time, Trumbo may be realizing that he’s worth more to the Orioles than other teams. The Rangers, Athletics, and Rockies have all been linked with Trumbo at various points this winter, but their need to sign Trumbo may not be as great as Baltimore’s.
Texas has checked in with Trumbo recently, as negotiations appear to have stalled with free agent Mike Napoli. However, the Rangers have been hesitant to spend big on a free agent this winter, even after losing Mitch Moreland, Ian Desmond, and Carlos Beltran in free agency. Trumbo’s asking price may need to come down even more for the Rangers to become serious contenders to sign him.
Oakland was showing interest in Trumbo a few weeks ago after missing out on Edwin Encarnacion. But how much interest they have in him and whether they have the money to sign him after adding Rajai Davis, Trevor Plouffe, and Santiago Casilla are unclear, potentially taking the A’s off the table.
Colorado has monitored Trumbo throughout the offseason as well, although they previously signed Desmond to a lucrative deal with the intention of having him play first base in 2017. The Rockies could easily move Desmond to the outfield and play Trumbo at first base (assuming they want to spend the money), but they’d also have to trade one of their outfielders, which would be a difficult proposition in the current market.
This would steer Trumbo back to Baltimore, despite the issues he and the Orioles have had coming to an agreement this winter. Of course, the Orioles have other options as well. They have already added Seth Smith to the outfield and appear to have interest in re-signing free agent Pedro Alvarez to help fill their DH spot at a lower cost than re-signing Trumbo.
As a result, Trumbo has lowered his asking price. However, the interest in him still appears to be rather tepid, from both the Orioles and other teams. Alas, there is still little clarity about when or how Trumbo’s free agency saga will end.