In Which The Red Sox Get Mark Trumbo

Nick Cafardo is playing Ben Cherington in the pages of the Boston Globe. Be afraid!

We witnessed it again in 2013. Another World Series, another roster of patient hitters. The Red Sox philosophy has been to see pitches, work counts, and avoid outs. When it has worked, the duck boats have rolled down Boylston Street.

Surely he is trade bait. Surely the target is bigger than Mark Trumbo.
Credit SittingStill

Yet, while many are still nursing a hangover from the 2013 season, others are still trying to catch up on their sleep from late World Series finishes, and more yet are still waiting another good moment to bash Stephen “J.D.’s brother” Drew. Nick Cafardo, however, has
moved onto fashioning the 2014 Red Sox in his own image. There are plenty of gems in here (trade for Troy Tulowitzki! Stephen Drew to the Yankees…Derek Jeter as another DH for Yanks*!), but let’s focus on the most absurd: that the Red Sox should/could trade
Will Middlebrooks and Felix Doubront for Mark Trumbo.

* Future post idea, guys! Name the pure DH’s that are contractually obligated to be a part of the 2014 New York Yankees. Teixeira? A-Rod? Jeter? Others?

Mark Trumbo is a popular player. He shows up on MLB Tonight or Baseball Tonight once a week or so with a towering home runs, so we assume he is good. He makes an all star team, so we assume he is good. But let us look deeper. Last year, Trumbo had a slash line of .234/.294/.453. On the other hand, we moaned through a season where Middlebrooks hit .227/.271/.425. Those are remarkably similar numbers (especially when you figure that WMB has 32 home runs in 660 career plate appearances over the last two seasons, and Trumbo hit 34 in 678 PA’s last season. Even the counting numbers are comparable). Being that Trumbo is 2 1/2 years older and about to enter his first arbitration eligibility, it seems as though this is a trade that could be made straight up, and arguments could ensue over who won. It would be tight, and I, personally, would not make it if I were Ben Cherington.

But Cafardo did not suggest a WMB/Trumbo trade. He threw in Felix Doubront, as well! Granted, appreciating Felix Doubront is complex. On the one hand, he is what his numbers say that he is: 4.32 ERA, decreased strike out rate, mediocre walk rate, etc. He
likely will never end up being an ace, but he still looks like a solid candidate to break through. For example, during the summer of 2013 (June-August), Doubront sported a 2.96 ERA. He carried the staff when Lester was struggling and Buchholz was injured.

Further, according to Baseball Reference, Doubront’s most comparable pitchers through the age of 25 include Bob Ojeda+, Matt Harrison, Francisco Liriano, and Bob Walk. If the Red Sox can get future production similar to their progressions, this is a guy that the team wants. If nothing else, it keeps the depth of the system in tact.

+ Lest we not also forget that Bob Ojeda’s best career season came the year after he left the Red Sox…when he went to the Mets. The team that, that season (1986) defeated our beloved Red Sox in the World Series.

The ability of the Red Sox to get better than replacement level work from the players filling in during injuries was as much a key as anything on the way to the World Series in 2013 (think Koji for Hanrahan, Workman for Buchholz, JBJ in September for Ellsbury,
Iglesias for Drew early on, etc.). So, how in the world does it make sense for the Red Sox to trade for an older, more expensive Will Middlebrooks by dangling the younger, less expensive ACTUAL Will Middlebrooks PLUS a player who still has growth potential, three
years of team control, and has been a regular contributor for two seasons?

The very idea of this trade is utter madness. You know it, I know it, Cafardo gets paid to throw crap against the wall and see what sticks. Give us a break!

Now, Nick, join the rest of the reasonable part of Red Sox Nation in reasonable conversations such as: what is the cap to which the Red Sox would go to sign McCann or Drew? Is it reasonable to dream of Stanton? Will JBJ or Victorino get more starts in CF in 2014?

On a quick personal aside, for the half a dozen or so of our readers that enjoy this column, I am sorry for the gap in production. I have been in the process of moving from Florida to Maine. I am about half unpacked now and have internet in my home and office once again. I am thrilled to be back in New England, and look forward to writing, again, on my regular schedule.

Categories: Boston Red Sox Felix Doubront Mark Trumbo Nick Cafardo Mail Bag Will Middlebrooks

Thinks Pedro deserved the MVP and that Justin Verlander did not, that Dwight Evans was better than Jim Rice, that Marty Barrett was a worthy choice as favorite Red Sox player when I was a child, that J.D. Drew was very good for the Olde Towne Team, that Fenway Sports group owning Liverpool is not a proper reason to support that loathsome soccer club, that Peter Gammons needs a key lock on his cell phone, still thinks that Nomar Garciaparra is better than Derek Jeter, and that, finally, there is no such thing as being completely bias-free. When not writing about or watching the Red Sox, I moonlight as a father, a husband, a pastor, a doctoral candidate, an infielder and #2 hitter on the church softball team, soccer fan, Disney pass holder, snark manufacturer, and pizza connoisseur. Free time free since 2001.

6 Responses to “In Which The Red Sox Get Mark Trumbo” Subscribe

  1. rushmore44 November 12, 2013 at 9:41 AM #

    It’s worth adding that Middlebrooks plays third, which makes him a bit more valuable than a comparable player like Trumbo at first base.

  2. Gerry November 12, 2013 at 3:09 PM #

    First of all Tim, from Florida to Maine in the WINTER? What is the oppo of ‘snow bird’? Is hibernation in your future? Couldn’t the move have waited until after ST? Just kidding. Love Maine, and so does Tom Caron.
    About Nick bashing, he certainly sets himself up for it. Rather have Nap back, or Carp/Hassan or even WMB himself at 1B, where he would likely use his quick twitch skills and good glove to replicate Youk’s defense while replicating Trumbo’s 30+HR annually. I would even like WMB’s cannon arm at 1B, a la AGon or Teix. There is no reason to NOT have excellent defense at 1B, all things equal. The Sox absolutely owe it to themselves to see if WMB, post wrist and back injuries, can achieve his ceiling. I am betting he can.
    Doubront, meanwhile, is another kind of keeper. Get and keep him in shape and watch 2013 June, July, August and postseason performance stretch to 7 above average months.
    I like Nick as a person and as a dedicated writer who seldom sinks to the bashing and negativity of so many in Boston’s media. But WMB and Doubie for whatshisname? Shame on you Nick.

  3. Joe November 12, 2013 at 10:23 PM #

    Reading the Globe article, he seems to suggest that *either* Widdlebrooks or Doubront for 3 arbitration years of Trumbo would be appealing to Ben, and not both. That is much more plausible than both for Trumbo as a 27-year-old arbitration-eligible rental.
    Granted, I would avoid selling low on Middlebrooks, but I would also avoid buying high on Napoli, who was supposed to get hurt all this season and never did. I would seriously consider a Doubront/Trumbo swap as fair and decent if it is available. I might not take that outright, but I would seriously consider it. If that represents a gamble that Doubront isn’t going to seriously improve as a 26-year-old, then I’ll accept that gamble and sacrifice some organizational depth at SP.

  4. Pepe November 13, 2013 at 12:56 PM #

    I think we should aim lower than Trumbo, maybe try to get a trade for Conger and Bourjos, as both are inexplicably undervalued on the Angels and could be had for cheaper. Conger has some debatable defense, but he could improve and is capable of hitting. Bourjos is a great defender with speed and the capacity to hit. 
    Why trade for Trumbo when we have Middlebrooks? Trumbo is better, but they profile as similar players with power but a lack of plate discipline. And Trumbo is real known for disappearing in the 2nd half of the season.

  5. DaveP1960 November 15, 2013 at 10:45 PM #

    Nice work Tim!  I did not see the Globe article…but you are correct to say…NO WAY do you trade TWO cost controlled young players with high ceilings for one arbitration older player…when they are all three equal.  Joe posted it was one or the other?…but, I see Middlebrooks having a solid year in 2014…for The Sox!!

  6. Earl Keese November 16, 2013 at 9:57 AM #

    Hey Tim couldn’t agree with you more, except it’s Nincompoop
    not Nick Cafardo. His stories (not articles) read like a man who is tired of
    his job and wants to be a crusader. Some of his worst sellers, “Old Yellow” the
    story of Jake not playing with broken ribs. “My Funny Valentine” his man crush
    with the most ridiculous managerial hiring in baseball history.
    Btw Juan Nieves was quoted as saying “Doubrount could have
    won 20 games if he came to spring training in shape” (I hope Pedro got in his
    ear before he went home).