Remarkable power? Check. Durable? Check. Able to play multiple positions? Check. A free swinger that has the potential to strike out 200 times? CHECK. The Arizona Diamondbacks are going back in time with the acquisition of Mark Trumbo, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Didn’t they go through a lot of trouble to eliminate these kinds of players?
Mark Reynolds, Chris Young and Justin Upton were three players with a lot of pop that didn’t exactly light up the on-base percentage portion of the box score. The Diamondbacks went out of their way to get rid of those guys, replacing them with guys like Martin Prado, who hit for a high average and put the ball in play but don’t really hit many home runs.
I can see the thinking behind the Trumbo acquisition, as Paul Goldschmidt badly needs some power protection in the lineup. They would have preferred to have a left-handed power threat, but that’s simply nitpicking at this point.
Trumbo could very well hit 40 home runs in the hitter-friendly Chase Field this season, but at what expense? How many times will he ground into a double play or strike out with men in scoring position? All too often, that’s what happened during the Reynolds-Upton-Young years. The table would be set, runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Then like clockwork, strikeout, pop out, fly out.
It looked like the Diamondbacks were moving in the right direction during the 2013 season, with guys that knew how to move runners over. Prado and Aaron Hill did a pretty good job (at least better than the previous regime) and looked like they were trending in the right direction. Yes, I know Prado grounded into 29 double plays, but at least he was putting the ball in play.
Now, the Diamondbacks will be putting Trumbo in left field, which creates a bit of a soft spot in the defense. He’ll likely hit fourth or fifth, which will be scary from a power spot, but if he can’t come through with runners on, who cares? Those towering solo home runs are what ran Reynolds out of town.
To be fair, Trumbo was average as it pertained to productive outs in 2013. He was horrible in 2011 and 2012, with an 18 and 19 percent success rate. His 32 percent success rate in 2013 was right on the MLB average.
I’m not claiming Trumbo is going to be a complete bust. He’s going to provide his share of highlight moments at the plate. It’s just a bizarre move from an organization that worked hard to go away from this type of player.
Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the Sports Illustrated/Fansided NBA site HoopsHabit.com and the Arizona Sports site HeatWaved.com. He also covers high school sports for The Arizona Republic. Follow me on Twitter @DunlapNBA.