After missing out on Edwin Encarnacion, the Oakland Athletics have reportedly turned their attention to another right-hander slugger. The A's have "reached out" to free agent Mark Trumbo, reports Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports. Trumbo is the second best remaining free agent available in our Hot Stove rankings.
Oakland's pursuit of Encarnacion was surprisingly aggressive. They offered the slugger a higher average annual value than the Indians, though it was believed to be a two-year contract, not a three-year contract.
#Athletics pursued Encarnacion with $25 million AAV per source. Believed to be shorter term offer, though. EE chose Cleveland— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) December 23, 2016
The A's could employ a similar strategy with Trumbo, whose market is pretty quiet at the moment. The Orioles have reportedly pulled their offer to the reigning AL home run champ, and the number of teams that need a big bat at first base or DH is dwindling. Players like Chris Carter and Mike Napoli represent more affordable alternatives as well.
Trumbo certainly makes sense for the Athletics, and for a few reasons. These two stand out:
- They wouldn't have to surrender their first round pick. Trumbo rejected the qualifying offer and is attached to draft pick compensation, but since the A's finished with one of the 10 worst regular season records in 2016, their first round pick is protected. They'd only have to give up their second pick to sign Trumbo.
- They have a gaping hole at first base. A's first basemen hit a combined .273/.336/.399 with 11 home runs in 2016. They ranked 23rd in OPS+ (88) and dead last in homers among the 30 clubs. Trumbo would step right in at first base and be a huge upgrade, especially in the power department.
The Athletics have had a relatively low-key offseason. They signed Rajai Davis to a one-year contract earlier this week and Matt Joyce to a two-year contract earlier this offseason, and that's about it. Trumbo's market seems to be depressed at the moment, which gives the A's an opportunity to jump in and maybe land him on a shorter term contract.