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The Angels are hurting themselves with Mark Trumbo at third base

Apr 8, 2012, 7:32 PM EDT

Mark Trumbo AP

What’s getting lost in the mess that is Mark Trumbo at third base for the Angels is the fact that Trumbo just isn’t much of an offensive upgrade.

Trumbo, who committed his third error in two games in the Angels’ 7-3 loss to the Royals on Sunday, hit .254/.291/.477 as a rookie last season, giving him a .768 OPS. Nothing in his minor league track record suggests that he’s going to get a lot better at age 26. Maybe he will anyway — he was better than I thought he would be at age 25 — but the odds of him hitting enough to make up for what will be, at best, a well below average glove at third are long.

Alberto Callaspo, a perfectly average defensive third baseman, hit .288/.366/.375 in 475 at-bats for the Angels last season. No, he didn’t come close to matching Trumbo’s RBI total, but he was just about as valuable offensively thanks to the extra 75 points of OBP. And the Angels aren’t exactly starving for a .300 OBP-30 HR guy hitting seventh when they have Torii Hunter, Kendrys Morales and Vernon Wells following Albert Pujols in the order. A .280/.350/.370 line from Callaspo will do just fine.

The Angels also have super-sub Maicer Izturis available to play the position. He hit .276/.334/.388 in his 449 at-bats last year.

I don’t think the Angels should abandon the Trumbo experiment entirely, but he should be the team’s third option at third base, not the first. If that means he doesn’t start more than once or twice per week between there and DH, that’s fine. The Angels could always work him out in left field, too. Of course, Mike Trout is awaiting his chance in Triple-A, but Trumbo has a better chance of being an upgrade on Wells than he does on the current third basemen.

  1. dondada10 - Apr 8, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    I was able to watch the entire Royals series. 3 errors aside, he missed another 4 to his bare-hand side that a barely competent 3rd baseman makes easily that weren’t called errors.

    Would it be the worse thing to play Pujols at third for a season and let Trumbo play first? Ultimately, that’s the best line-up the Angels could roll out.

    • lyon810 - Apr 8, 2012 at 8:38 PM

      Keep Pujols at first, slot in Callaspo or Maicer, the Angels already have a power bat with no substance in Wells (hate that I just made a positive referral to Vernon). Trade Trumbo for a 5th starter or bullpen depth, which they desperately need, especially when you look at the Texas pen.

      • paperlions - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:18 PM

        The problem with trading Trumbo is that he has no value. He can DH or play 1B, and he doesn’t hit enough to be an average DH or 1B. The most important thing a hitter can do is not make an out. Trumbo is horrible at not making outs.

    • jwbiii - Apr 9, 2012 at 3:46 AM

      Pujols has played 35 innings at 3B since his elbow surgery in 2008. I’m not sure playing him there full time again is a good idea.

  2. royalsfaninfargo - Apr 8, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    I am biased obviously, but he did look bad at 3rd. Every time there was a hit towards third I thought it was going to be an error. That being said, the Royals looked really good in this series. If they can get any sort of pitching they will be dangerous. The Hos is a beast!

  3. nflfollower - Apr 8, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    So maybe the two teams to beat in the AL have questionable defense at third between the angels and tigers? Cabrera looked decent this past series, but there will be a lot of balls this season he won’t get to that many would.

    • hondoheaven47 - Apr 8, 2012 at 9:40 PM

      I don’t know about the two favorites in the AL having questionable defense at third. There’s this Beltre guy in Texas who’s pretty good with the glove.

      • nflfollower - Apr 8, 2012 at 9:48 PM

        Yea you could put Texas up there as well. I suppose in my mind if I had to pick two favorites going into this season it would be angels and tigers, due to the fact that they did a lot to improve their teams since last year. Pujols and CJ Wilson for the angels, fielder for Detroit. Regarding Texas on paper its not certain they will be better or even as good as last year, for what paper projections are worth. Lost CJ Wilson, guys like beltre and young are a year older….. Just my two cents.

  4. angrycorgi - Apr 8, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    Wait a minute…are you saying Trumbo isn’t the smartest play? But mike scioscia is a genius, right?? Right???

  5. trybe29dr - Apr 8, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    A few points here i dont know why cabrera is playing 3b. Honestly ryan raburn is a better fielder. Its funny raburn DH’ed that first game considering hes a better glove than fielder, cabrera, and young. But i digress. I guess it depends on who you ask. If u rather have power trumbo is the guy…if you rather have average izturis and callaspo are the smart plays…but lets not make it sound like its not a big upgrade to have trumbo, 29 HRs are alot…

    • nflfollower - Apr 9, 2012 at 1:02 AM

      Raburn plays a few positions defensively, and he plays them all terribly. Leyland puts him in the lineup b/c when his bat heats up, he goes on a tear, but his offense is also extremely inconsistent and he has a poor contact ratio. In summary, I really wish he didn’t play as much as he does, and to say raburn is a better fielder than cabrera is misinformation at best. Perhaps a better left fielder simply due to range, but certainly not a better 3rd baseman.

  6. natinals10 - Apr 8, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    square peg in a round hole. I kind of feel bad for Trumbo he was on his way to a decent big league career before Albert

  7. jawnn - Apr 8, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    opening week… relax he will be ok… he hasn’t cost them a game, oh and he will along with everyone else a some point in this imperfect game

  8. lostsok - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    They’ll ruin this poor kid forcing him to play a position he lacks the quick-twitch skill for…ruin him. He should be a rotation 1b/dh/of, and eat the extra at bats. He’ll still get 250-300 and contribute. Get him off the hot corner!

  9. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    I hope this is not the year that an Angels GM turns out to be anything short of absolute perfection. It may shock the baseball world in ways we have never experienced before.

  10. db105 - Apr 9, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    Trumbo at 3B reminds me of Butch Hobson at 3B.

    • jwbiii - Apr 9, 2012 at 3:43 AM

      Does he rearrange the bone chips in his elbow after every throw? That was cool.

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