Texas Rangers rumors: Mark Trumbo, free agent first baseman/outfielder/designated hitter, is the latest free agent that the Texas Rangers are reported to have interest in, with Jon Heyman saying that the Rangers have opted to “check in” on Trumbo due to “a seeming impasse” in their discussions with Mike Napoli.
Trumbo was reportedly offered a four year deal for $52-55 million earlier in the offseason, while Trumbo wanted $80 million over four years. Baltimore’s offer is apparently no longer on the table, and with Edwin Encarnacion getting just 3 years, $60 million guaranteed from the Indians, it seems unlikely Trumbo will get close to his original asking price.
Trumbo is a one-dimensional slugger, a low OBP, high-power guy who isn’t good defensively, but who led the majors in home runs last season, with 47. Trumbo has a career .251/.303/.473 slash line, and after a disastrous 2014 campaign with Arizona where he put up a -1.1 bWAR, Trumbo has put up a 1.6 bWAR in both 2015 and 2016. If you prefer fWAR, Trumbo put up a 1.1 fWAR in 2015 and a 2.2 fWAR in 2016 -- basically, the same total over the two years.
Trumbo’s problem is that, if you want a one-dimensional slugger without good OBP skills or defense, there are a bunch of guys you can choose from right now. Pedro Alvarez is out there, as is Chris Carter, as is Mark Reynolds. Trumbo is probably a little better than those three, but not vastly superior, and if you can get, say, Carter for one year, $8 million, there’s little reason to give Trumbo $10-15 million per year for multiple years.
The real question here is, how much of this is legitimate interest that the Rangers have in Trumbo, how much is posturing by the Rangers to try to get movement from Mike Napoli -- who is clearly their preferred option — and how much is Trumbo’s agent (Trumbo is with Wasserman Media Group) putting out info to try to prompt other teams to up their bids. I suspect the Rangers do view Trumbo as a possible fallback option, but only if Napoli doesn’t work out, and even then, most likely, only on a cheap, one year deal.