D-backs acquire big bat in Trumbo; deal Skaggs, Eaton

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired the power bat they sought in outfielder Mark Trumbo on Tuesday, sending pitcher Tyler Skaggs to the Los Angeles Angels and outfielder Adam Eaton to the Chicago White Sox in a three-team deal.
 
The D-backs also are to receive a prospect apiece from the Angels and the White Sox, and the Angels get left-handed pitcher Hector Santiago from Chicago.

The trade  was an off-shoot of conversations between Arizona’s Kevin Towers and

White Sox GM Rick Hahn about left-hander Chris Sale, whom Chicago will

not move, and comes just 11 months after the D-backs dealt away Justin Upton in an effort to make their offense less long-ball dependent.

Trumbo is expected to slot into the No. 4 spot in the order behind Paul Goldschmidt, and his presence gives the D-backs a 1-2 punch that projects as one of the best in the National League.

 
Goldschmidt had a career-high 36 home runs last season, and Trumbo has averaged 31.7 in his three full seasons with the Angels as a first baseman/outfielder/DH. He will play left field for the D-backs.
“We came to these meetings looking for pitching and looking for power,” Towers said. “We tried to add offense, and we’ve got a guy that we can control now for three years. Two of the probably better right-handed power bats in the National League. Excited to see how it all works.”

One scout familiar with both teams believes Trumbo will fit well in Chase Field. His guess on Trumbo’s homer/RBI totals: “35 bombs (homers) and how many guys are on base when he hits those HRs.”

Goldschmidt and Trumbo are two of the seven major leaguers who had 30 doubles, 30 homers and 100 RBI in 2013. Pedro Alvarez and Jay Bruce were the only others who played in the NL.

“I’m a huge fan of Paul. I think this lineup is gong to do some real damage, and I’m glad to be a part of it,” Trumbo said in a conference call. “The biggest transition (to the NL) is to learn the new arms. I’ll be doing some homework.”

“It doesn’t come without some pain. We will miss Mark Trumbo,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said.

Towers made it clear as the 2013 season wound down that he wanted to inject more power into a lineup that hit 130 homers, 11th in the National League in a hitter-friendly park. No one but Goldschmidt had more than 14. The D-backs were fifth in runs scored, but they want to get more in bunches.

The 2013 spring plan was to use Eaton as a leadoff hitter, but he missed three months with an elbow injury suffered in spring training, and the D-backs were a different team when he returned.

The sum total of the Upton/Trumbo deals for Arizona is this: The D-backs dealt away Upton, Chris Johnson, Skaggs and Eaton and added Trumbo, Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Zeke Spruill and four minor league prospects.

 
Trumbo hit 29, 32 and 34 homers in his three full seasons with the Angels, with a career high 100 RBI last year. His batting average (.234) and OPS (.747) were career lows in 2013, but he had a career-high 281 total bases. He finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2011, when he hit .254 with 29 homers and 87 RBI.
 
Mark Trumbo’s career stats

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO 2005 19 LAA-min Rk 71 299 45 82 23 1 10 45 2 2 21 67 .274 .322 .458
2010 24 LAA AL 8 15 2 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 8 .067 .125 .067
2011 25 LAA AL 149 539 65 137 31 1 29 87 9 4 25 120 .254 .291 .477
2012 26 LAA AL 144 544 66 146 19 3 32 95 4 5 36 153 .268 .317 .491
2013 27 LAA AL 159 620 85 145 30 2 34 100 5 2 54 184 .234 .294 .453
4 Yrs 460 1718 218 429 80 6 95 284 18 11 116 465 .250 .299 .469
162 Game Avg. 162 605 77 151 28 2 33 100 6 4 41 164 .250 .299 .469

Towers now can turn his attention to adding a No. 1 or No. 2 starter, via trade or free agency. Bronson Arroyo, A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon, Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana are among the free agents available. The D-backs have said they will not go after players who have served PED suspensions, which would eliminate Colon. Arroyo would not cost them a draft pick.

The D-backs have offered right-hander Joba Chamberlain a one-year contract for about $3 million, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported. Chamberlain began his career as a starter with the New York Yankees before moving to the bullpen.

“(It’s) probably going to be a little more difficult as we moved two of our bigger trade pieces to acquire Trumbo,” Towers said, “but we still feel like we’ve got young players that people covet that may have pitching to be moved in a trade. In the perfect world, probably the free-agent route makes more sense just because you don’t want to empty the cupboard on a farm system that we think is strong. But if it’s the right player, we’ll consider trading once again.”

Even with Trumbo, the D-backs have four starting outfielders, including Gerardo Parra, Cody Ross and A.J. Pollock, although Ross is unlikely to return from a dislocated hip “until April or maybe May,” Towers said Tuesday.

The D-backs still have top third-base prospect in Matt Davidson, who is blocked by Prado, and excesses at shortstop and in the starting rotation, although 2013 Pacific Coast League MVP shortstop Chris Owings will be hard to get.

Trumbo, 27, has three years of arbitration eligibility remaining and

could be expected to make between $4.5 million and $5 million this

season unless the sides settle early. He has played more first base than

any other spot since becoming a starter with the Angels in 2011, with

276 starts at first base, 73 in left field, 49 in right field and 39 at

DH.

“There’s no doubt in our mind he’ll be a solid average defender,” Towers said.

Trumbo also had a career-high 184 strikeouts last season.

“With power is going to come strikeouts,” Towers said. “Just looking at the West, and looking at the National League and looking at the free-agent market going forward, I just don’t know where you’re going to find power going down the road. If 180 strikeouts translates into 40 homers and 150 or 120 RBIs, and Goldie has another Goldschmidt type year, we’ll be happy with those two big right-hand bats in the lineup.”

Skaggs is expected to slot into the back end of the Angels’ starting rotation, and his trade completes his odyssey from the Angels to the D-backs and back again. Skaggs was a sandwich draft pick by the Angels in the 2009 draft and was acquired by then-D-backs interim general manager Jerry Dipoto in the Dan Haren 2010 trade deadline deal. The same trade brought Patrick Corbin and Joe Saunders to Arizona.
 
Now Skaggs is back where he started as the Angels look to bolster a shaky rotation.

Eaton will lead off and play center field for the White Sox, Hahn said. Eaton, an Indiana native, stole 44 bases as the Class AAA Pacific Coast League MVP in Reno in 2012.

He entered spring training as last February as the D-backs starting center fielder and leadoff hitter, but by the time he returned from his arm injury, Pollock had cemented himself in center field and according to one set of defensive metrics saved 11 runs more than an average defender at the position. His eight assists were tied for fourth among NL center fielders.