When we last heard from Mark Trumbo, he had just been acquired in a trade with the Mariners in a deal that become official on Dec. 2. He was surprised by it, since he hadn’t heard the Orioles mentioned as a possibility, and revealed his long-standing admiration for the organization.
Meanwhile, executive vice president Dan Duquette vowed to continue his search for at least one more impact bat.
“This isn’t the last move the club is going to make to put our team together for 2016,” Duquette said. “I can’t tell you who we’re going to sign in the future, but the addition of a proven major league hitter like Mark Trumbo today lengthens our lineup.”
It’s a lot longer now that first baseman Chris Davis has signed a seven-year, $161 million contract, a move that directly impacts Trumbo.
Early projections had Trumbo replacing Davis at first base. Updated projections have him getting most of his at-bats as the designated hitter.
It felt like the elephant in the room Thursday night when Trumbo called into the “Hot Stove Show” on 105.7 The Fan. Davis re-signs and Trumbo is removed from his best position.
What thoughts ran through Trumbo’s mind when news broke of the trade?
“Oh, it was huge,” Trumbo said. “I was just totally pumped up at the possibility of the amount of damage that the team was already capable of doing, but having Chris back in that lineup ...
“At the end of the day it may change what I do slightly or considerably, but I think my only goal is to play on a winning team, and if that means I play right field, if I DH, whatever it is, I could not care less. As long as I’m contributing and we’re rolling and contending, that is literally all I care about.”
Major props to Trumbo for his attitude and his proper use of the phrase “could not care less.”
Trumbo played 43 games at first base and 41 in the outfield with the Diamondbacks in 2014, but he played a combined 88 in the outfield and 23 at first base with the Diamondbacks and Mariners last year. He’ll go where he’s told.
“It doesn’t matter to me one bit,” Trumbo said.
“I think I’m a better first baseman than I am an outfielder. I don’t possess that elite speed. I do have a fairly good throwing arm, but there’s other guys out there who cover more ground than I do. But when I am out there, I try to pride myself on doing everything I can to put myself in the right position. Pay attention, watch swings. I do all the little things that can kind of make up for maybe some of the lack of physical talent that some of the other guys might have an edge over me on.”
Trumbo is in the early stages of getting to know his new teammates, but he already got acquainted with center fielder Adam Jones at the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City.
“I think he saved my butt in the All-Star Game a couple years ago,” Trumbo said. “I had a very poor read on a fly ball, and he came all the way from center and took it so I didn’t look foolish. I’ll thank him when I see him in person, but I’m aware of how good he is and the leadership skills. I think it’s going to be really special to share a clubhouse with him.”
Trumbo said he’ll wear No. 45 this season. It belonged to catcher Steve Clevenger, who was sent to the Mariners in the trade.
“It’s going to be a first,” he said. “Truthfully, No. 44 is the one I wore in Anaheim. There’s some fairly iconic players who have worn that number, but I think it’s semi-retired as far as I was told in the Baltimore organization.”
“I wanted something that was in or around there that was kind of a powerful numberish type of thing, if that even matters. I figured 45 sounded good, so we’re going to roll with that.”
Shameless plug alert: I’m doing “Wall to Wall Baseball” from 11 a.m.-noon on MASN. We’ll take turns trying not to mispronounce Odrisamer Despaigne’s name.