Trades, Trumbos, and Time Machines

What is the most realistic method for the Padres to add talent this winter? While there exists a good number of attractive free agents on the market, is it even feasible for a team like the Padres to add talent in such a way? The Padres may be adding approximately 20% to their payroll this off-season but that still doesn’t leave much to make a big splash. I apologize for having more questions than answers.

Last week, the Angels’ Mark Trumbo was named as a possible player suited for the Padres in 2014. The prospect of adding a first baseman who finished 2013 with 34 HRs, excited a lot of power starved fans here in San Diego. Others however, were nonplussed. The fans in the latter category cited Trumbo’s OBP (.294) and high strikeout rates (184 in 2013) as a reason not to consider giving up any young pitching for his corner infield bat. Maybe there’s something to that argument – despite the HR totals (34), Trumbo’s WAR (2.2) was only 1 better than that of current Padre, Yonder Alonso (1.2).

Truth be told . . . aside from scrolling through to scan numbers, I don’t know too much about Mark Trumbo. So I decided to ask someone who knows: Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus.

It feels like I’ve heard Sam talk about Mark Trumbo before on the Effectively Wild podcast. Even more than the brief conversations Sam may have had with his podcast partner Ben Lindbergh, Miller lives in the LA area and once covered the Angels beat for the Orange County Register. He had to know something, right? Sorry, more questions.

I offered the following:

It took a few days but Sam finally replied via twitter (tweet one, two, and three). Here’s his response in a condensed format:

“Always in a streak (good or bad) that you swear he’ll never not be in, but somehow adds up to consistent hitter by the end of year. Can hit good pitchers; can hit great pitchers. Can be the entire offense on a good day. Smart player. Makes good decisions. Can move better than expected, though has had some foot problems. Above -avg defense at 1B, worse but not a joke in OF.

He sounds like a non-Princeton educated, infield version of Will Venable who has a palatable scent and an outstanding hairline*. Does that sound bad? I think it sounds alright.

*Sometimes we are left with nothing but our inferences.

A positive endorsement from Sam but what would it take to obtain such a player?

Ernesto Frieri? Eighteen months ago? What does that mean?

Wait. I get it. On the grounds that I used the word hypothetical in my question Sam decided he could break all conventions of reason . . . and use a time machine to answer the question. That crazy Sam.

Still, what does his answer mean? Who was Ernesto Frieri 18 months ago? Was he just a bullpen arm languishing in San Diego or had he already been shipped to Los Angeles where he morphed into a lights-out closer who refused to give up runs? There’s a pretty big distinction there.

The time stamp on Sam’s tweet says November 5th. So 11/5/13 minus 18 months = 5/5/12.

Alright . . . who was Ernesto Frieri on that date?

On May 5th, 2012, after arriving from San Diego in a trade for Donn Roach and Alexi Amarista on May 3rd, Ernesto Frieri made his debut for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He pitched 1 inning, walking 1, and fanning 3.

I still don’t know what any of this means. Does the “18 months ago” apply to Mark Trumbo as well? A year and a half ago Mark Trumbo was coming off a 2011 season in which he hit 29 HRs. Since then he has followed up his 2011 campaign with 32, and 34 HRs respectively. Doesn’t that make him more proven now and consequently more attractive since he has shown consistency. I suppose it is worth mentioning that Mark Trumbo’s WAR is trending downward (2.8, 2.7, 2.2).

Damn time machine! I should never have used the word hypothetically! Gahhhhhhhh!!! I don’t even want Mark Trumbo.  November!

I see talent acquisition via trade this winter.


I contribute to Padres Public on Thursday mornings and when I’m feeling particularly inspired or just outraged by the location of statues. I can also be found on twitter at @AvengingJM. The dusty archives of AJM are located at

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