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Angels bench Mark Trumbo rather than play him at third base

Apr 18, 2012, 11:19 AM EDT

Mark Trumbo AP

Here’s how bad Mark Trumbo‘s defense has been at third base: He’s hitting .375 with a 1.224 OPS so far this season and yet the Angels have left him on the bench for the past two games.

That they have a logjam at first base, designated hitter, and the corner outfield spots is nothing new and led to trade speculation all offseason, but the plan of lessening that logjam by using Trumbo regularly at third base appears to be a no-go.

Trumbo has played just three games there so far, making three errors and looking just as rough around the edges as nearly everyone predicted. To his credit Trumbo is saying all the right things about understanding the lack of playing time and continuing to work hard defensively to show manager Mike Scioscia that he can capably play the position, but some things are simply beyond the scope of hard work and determination.

Last year Trumbo appeared in all but 13 games for the Angels, but he’s already missed five games and has a grand total of 19 plate appearances two weeks into the season.

  1. rambodiaz - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    If the Angels don’t want him, we’ll take him.

    Pirates Fans

  2. Jeremiah Graves - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    This may be redonkulous speculation, but given that we all know Trumbo is a greatly flawed hitter with tremendous power, it is possible that–in addition to improving the defense–they’re keeping him out of the lineup to keep his trade value high?

    Right now he’s got a big shiny OPS and he’s coming off that “I was dang near Rookie of the Year” high from last season.

    If he plays regularly at 3B his killing his value b/c it makes him look like a one-dimensional 1B/DH type and allows for his numbers to come hurtling back toward earth in a big hurry.

    Just some wild speculation.

    I thought a trade to the Brewers for a reunion with K-Rod made sense once upon a time and given the bullpen’s less-than-stellar showing thus far, the Angels might still want to make that move or a similar one if Trumbo’s value stays high enough to net a big-time bullpen arm.

  3. thejoehansen - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Didn’t Pujols play 3B as late as last year?

    … just saying.

    • spudchukar - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      He can is able and willing to shift to third, but the Angels would be nuts to ask him to do it except in emergency situations. His elbow is still fragile, and the fewer throws he makes the better.

      I do not get the Angels, even if Trumbo was capable of playing 3rd they still have a log-jam in the OF, and with middle infielders. How did they expect this to play out? Perhaps no one wants to deal with them, but if I am either of the offensive starved Pennsylvania teams I believe something could be worked out. Maybe the Pirates could send Meek and Morton to the Halos for Trumbo.

  4. Detroit Michael - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Maybe the Angels realize that Callaspo is probably a better 3B than Mark Trumbo is. There is no particular reason to make Trumbo the regular at 3B. If he function as a back-up there, the Angels should be happy.

  5. angrycorgi - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    I agree with yanking him at 3B, but yanking him from the lineup is DUMB.

    When your DH is hitting .289/.289/.711 and you are sitting a guy who is hitting .375/.474/1.224, you apparently aren’t TOO interested in winning the easy way.

    • Jeremiah Graves - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      Right, but we’re talking about a seriously small sample size, does anyone actually think Trumbo is a better hitter than Morales?!

      • angrycorgi - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:46 PM

        Well, if we are making decisions on “theory”, lets leave Trumbo out at 3rd, with the “theory” that he’ll “figure it out” sooner rather than later. Right now, Trumbo is hitting much better than Morales, and he’s actually walking. SOs don’t help anyone but the other team.

      • kpow55 - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:07 PM

        No one who’s’ ever watched a few consecutive Halo’s games (on something other than a :30 ESPN clips) can honestly believe Morales should be anywhere other than permanently entrenched in the lineup.

        He is coming off a looong layoff and is still performing adequately. Imagine when he hits his groove again.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if he leads the team from the break on.

      • spudchukar - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:47 PM

        Morales is a proven slugger. Trumbo, has one very good year under his belt. The issue isn’t whether Trumbo will not hit or not, it is that he does not have the tools to handle the corner position. This should have been figured out in Spring Training. With the addition of Pujols, Morales only has one place to play, especially coming off his 1 1/2 year hiatus. Even healthy he struggles defensively and his only future is as a DH. Trumbo has some outfield experience but will still be a liability in the field. But with Abreu, Hunter, and Wells rotating in the corner positions, and Trout blocked at AAA, Scioscia is cat juggling without gloves. Bourjois isn’t very threatening offensively, but only Hunter is a viable option in Center.

        I suspect the Angels management team has been trying to move Abreu and Wells, but who would be enticed? These are the kind of guys a team moves long after the All Star break, not in April when other teams are still testing out unproven, younger, and decidedly cheaper options.

  6. lyon810 - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Trade him for some much needed bullpen depth

  7. andreweac - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    The ghost of Tony Reagins (Vernon “too blessed to be stressed” Wells) will continue to terrify the Angels organization through 2014. The trade only gets worse with time — like rotten milk moved from one’s fridge to their nightstand.

  8. garylanglais - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Cheer up Mark,

    Torii’s contract is up after this year so you will be our everyday RF very soon! Ohh, you heard we have arguably the best prospect penciled in as next year’s RF.

    Ummm, well there’s a chance we deal Abreu at the deadline so we can get you ABs at DH! Ohh, that’s right…you’d have to split time with Morales.

    Yes Mark, we are well aware you are a better player than Vernon but I don’t see your name on those $21m checks! It’s not our fault, Tony (Reagins) did that!

    • jarathen - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      So sad. So true.

      I don’t understand how Trumbo isn’t cycling through DH, 1B, corner OF, and 3B to spell other players. He is at an age where he should be improving offensively, and some of those positions are in decline (read: three of them, most likely). Sure, he’s a hit on the defense, but he’s not Barry Bonds out there, either. Defensively. And offensively.

  9. kpow55 - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    in the beginning it’s WTF are they thinking? logjam of quality, boo hoo, too many good players, not enough spots.

    near the middle/end, it will be they are geniuses trading aging vets and flailing prospects to solidify the bullpen and add a power bat before the playoffs w/o really losing any positions.

    to the confused few who are new to the ever increasing bandwagon, there are worse problem to have than too much talent, just ask the Indians, Pirates, Royals, Astros, etc…

    there are moveable pieces if need be, otherwise it’s up an coming sharing time with aging vets, that’s how a perennial winner is built. not like 80% of the league who has a good season or two, cut costs, blows it up and starts over.

  10. nflfollower - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    If they trade away trumbo and he flourishes, they may regret the pujols contract sooner rather than later. Eventually I think they will regret it regardless, age catches up to everyone, even those whose actual age is uncertain.

    • Jeremiah Graves - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:14 PM

      If they trade Trumbo–far and away the least valuable of the three guys in the 1B/DH logjam–for someone who helps ’em win the World Series, I don’t think they’ll care if he flourishes.

      They’ve built a team to win with Pujols and they’re undoubtedly going to regret that contract in the later years, all long contracts turn out like that, but for right now they’ve got the best hitter of the post-Bonds generation, a stacked rotation, and a legitimate chance to win the World Series every year for the next five years.

      If dump Trumbo for the missing piece is what’s required, they’ll be on board.

  11. rcali - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:22 AM

    This is a great idea. Getting beat by the Oakland A’s is probably a lot of fun for Angel fans as they watch Pujols and Morales underachieve. Maybe they just didn’t pay Pujols enough money to participate this early in the season.

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