The Mariners symphony is not one written in a bright major key. It's a dirge, most likely in A minor, and the story of Mark Trumbo is a mournful trombone solo. Acquired in June to bolster an underachieving offense, Trumbo's first months as a Mariners was horrific, as he hit .241/.277/.335 through July in his first 166 plate appearances in Seattle. Those are passable number is you do Andrelton Simmons things with a glove on. Mark Trumbo does not do those things.
It got better for Trumbo. He hit .284/.349/.494 the last two months of the year. But with Jerry Dipoto preaching the Gospel of Speed and Defense coupled with Trumbo's impending arbitration number above 9 million dollars the fit never quite seemed right. But this? This is a small return, even for a player as flawed and pricey as Trumbo:
Well, let me just see Steve Clevenger is....a....catcher(?)...who is........3 months(?) younger than Mark Trumbo and has hit......no no he hasn't done that. He's cheap I suppose? He's not Jesus Sucre or Mike Zunino? Look you don't like this trade, I get it. Mark Trumbo hits dingers and is a familiar name. Steve Clevenger is not and doesn't.
The move has one thing, and really only one thing going for it: It saves money. Steve Clevenger, whatever he does in a Mariner/Rainier jersey, is going to do it on the cheap, and this move allows the Mariners to avoid paying a player they clearly did not prefer to have on the roster. Where could the savings go? Well they damn well better go towards filling out the roster, as there's now a big hole at first base to go along with starting pitcher and outfield outfield always the outfield.
It's amazing to be in this situation bereft of first base candidates. Just last year the Mariners had a first basemen at first, one on the bench, one in right field, one in Tacoma, and on and on. Now? If the season were to start today Jesus Montero is the most qualified candidate, and he is not a qualified candidate.
Of course the season is not starting today, or tomorrow. The offseason is still a few days away from its typical big grand opening gala with the Winter Meetings. As much as the return smacks of selling low for a pittance, and that's because it is, if the 9 million saved goes towards a deal for the acquisition of a player significantly better than Mark Trumbo it makes a lot more sense.
At the end, this is one step in a long dance. It's not a graceful one, but then everything about the Mark Trumbo era in Seattle lacked grace, but it's one that the front office feels is necessary to execute their larger plan. There are deals that fill obvious holes, or that bring in well known stars, that are easy to judge in the moment for the cost to acquire. This one isn't one of those, and good or bad, it's a part of a series. I encourage you to let it play out before you make up your mind.
Goodbye Mark, I like you less than a few, but more than most. Thanks for the dingers.
Per Dutton there may be another player in the deal. We will update with info here as relevant etc. etc.
Well whatever the hell I don't even know.