Mark Trumbo enough for D-backs to contend in NL West?

Mark Trumbo
Mark Trumbo and Paul Goldschmidt will provide a powerful one-two punch in the D-backs lineup.

At Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla., a three-team trade was announced that sent Mark Trumbo to the Arizona Diamondbacks, while the Los Angeles Angels received Tyler Skaggs from the D-backs and Hector Santiago from the Chicago White Sox. Arizona parted ways with Adam Eaton who was sent to the White Sox, and they will also receive a player to be named later in the deal.

But the main element of this deal is the right-handed power Mark Trumbo brings to the Diamondbacks lineup behind 2013 NL MVP runner-up Paul Goldschmidt. Finding that big bat to complement Goldschmidt was high on GM Kevin Towers’ priority list this offseason. The Diamondbacks have been very aggressive in trying to acquire that bat, whether through trade or free agency, and Towers feels Mark Trumbo is the guy they’ve been looking for. Let’s take a look at Trumbo’s numbers over the past three years:

2011 539 65 137 31 29 87 25 120 .254 .291 .477 .768
2012 544 66 146 19 32 95 36 153 .268 .317 .491 .808
2013 620 85 145 30 30 100 54 184 .234 .294 .453 .747

It’s obvious why Towers would covet someone like Trumbo — you know he’s going to give you 30 home runs and drive in 90-plus runs. But it’s also easy to see why many think Trumbo is overrated — he’s guaranteed to give you 150-plus strikeouts, an OBP around .300 and a batting average around .250.

Going into last offseason, you got the vibe that this was exactly the kind of player the Diamondbacks were trying to avoid when they traded Justin Upton away. You could argue that Upton could put up similar numbers and would almost certainly be a better defender than Trumbo will be in left field.

But that’s in the past, and Diamondback fans have to settle for what they have now, which is a legitimate power bat that will protect Goldschmidt in the middle of the lineup. Here’s a look at their projected lineup:

CF  Pollock/Parra
3B  Prado
1B  Goldschmidt
LF  Trumbo
2B  Hill
C    Montero
RF  Parra/Ross
SS  Gregorius/Owings

Having a healthy Aaron Hill in the middle of the lineup will be a big boost for the Diamondbacks next season as Hill missed half of 2013. Cody Ross is expected to start the season on the disable list, but, once healthy, he’ll give this lineup another power threat.

Keep an eye on the shortstop situation. Didi Gregorius will have some stiff competition in spring training with top prospect Chris Owings pushing him for playing time. We also could see one of them get moved this offseason as the Diamondbacks look for another arm in their rotation.

But this lineup has just the right amount of power and speed to contend with other offensive lineups in the National League West. It would have been nice to have Eaton sitting in the leadoff spot, but whether it’s A.J. Pollock or Gerardo Parra, I think either is good enough to set up the middle of the order.

The Diamondbacks were 81-81 this year, despite dealing with injuries and subpar performances from many veterans. Adding Trumbo definitely gives them another run producer; Martin Prado was second on the team in 2013 with 82 RBI, and Parra was next with 48.

Where this team really lacked was in the starting rotation, and I don’t see them contending with the Los Angeles Dodgers without getting a frontline starter. Towers said he wasn’t leaving the meetings without an arm, but I don’t think they need just any arm, they need a number two or three type arm. Maybe Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin continue to develop into those top-of-the-rotation arms next year, but they still need at least one more legitimate starter to have a shot at winning the NL West.

With Mark Trumbo in the fold, this offense has plenty of firepower to compete. If Towers gets that top-of-the-rotation arm, this team could make a serious run at the playoffs in 2014.

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