2017 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

Baltimore Orioles Re-sign Mark Trumbo

As might have been predicted, the Baltimore Orioles brought back one of their major free agents when they signed Mark Trumbo to a three-year 37.5 million dollar contract. The move probably seems more significant at first glance since Trumbo is coming off of a 47 home run campaign, but as the contract numbers indicate, the market for Trumbo never really materialized.

Why the Orioles make this signing?

Give Dan Duquette and the Orioles some credit here. Yes, they paid for a surprisingly mediocre player, but the salary they dolled out indicates they knew he was mediocre all along. So, did the rest of baseball. For those of you looking for some light reading, the lineup series just profiled the AL East. The Orioles rated as a middle of the pack team in the American League without Trumbo and his signing really doesn’t change that.

According to Baseball Prospectus, Trumbo’s monster season rated him a .274 rating according to total average. 260 is considered league average. Fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Chris Carter rated as .262 and .288 respectively. In other words, Trumbo fits somewhere neatly in that group. In years past, his season would have rated him a nine figure multi-year deal, but general managers are getting wiser to the proper way to value players on the open market.

However, as the AL East article suggested, the Orioles didn’t necessarily want to trust their fortunes to Trey Mancini. So, they get a proven veteran at a very reasonable cost. The hidden value comes in the familiarity in the player and his ability to play first base and the outfield. Neither Napoli or Carter offer either at this point. Mind you, Trumbo really can’t play either of those spots particularly well, but positional flexibility will not only help fantasy players, but will also help the Orioles.

In terms of the AL East article, the signing really doesn’t affect their overall prognosis much. Their lineup’s overall TAV rating will move up to .270. That puts them in a virtual tie with the Indians and the Angels for 5th in the American League. He’s averaged about one WARP per season over the last three years, so their WARP rank really doesn’t change much. His fielding rating actually drags them down, but they were last in the league in that category anyway. So, it really doesn’t push the needle any, but it wasn’t exhorbinant amount of money to pay either.

What this deal means for you

Fielding doesn’t count in fantasy baseball except for eligibility. He most recently played in the outfield and since there are more good first basemen than you could shake a fist at, it is probably better to consider him as an outfielder anyway. All told, Trumbo is probably best considered as a 30/90/90 guy until he is able to reproduce 2016 again. There is certainly a lot of value in that, but players that don’t hit for high average or get on base are typically limited.

 

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