BY ISAIAH STUMPF
Whenever the Orioles do any business with the Mariners it seems to work in their favor. Erik Bedard for Adam Jones and Chris Tillman. We all know who got the better end of that deal. And just last offseason, the Orioles acquired Mark Trumbo, a right-handed slugger, for a third-string catcher in Steve Clevenger. All Trumbo went on to do this season is hit a major-league leading 47 home runs to go along with 108 RBIs in 159 games.
But how aggressive should the Orioles be in their pursuit of re-sgning Trumbo? His salary for this season was $9.15 million. I would call that a steal. But now comes the big question on whether or not the Orioles should re-sign him. The Orioles may not have gotten to the Wild Card without him. For many games this year he was the only offense for the O's, including the Wild Card game, where he hit a two-run homer — the only two runs the Orioles scored in the game.
The Orioles can deal with this in one of two ways. They can offer Trumbo the $17.2 million qualifying offer, which they did, and hope he accepts it and stays for another year. Or they could offer Trumbo a multi-year deal and not have to go through this again next offseason.
If the Orioles do re-sign him to a multi-year deal, they would be taking a risk. Who's to say this year wasn't a fluke and he has a down year next season? That could've been money spent to fill holes throughout the rest of the team. But isn't that a risk you take with any player seeking a multi-year deal? What if Trumbo goes on to sign elsewhere and does the same as Nelson Cruz has?
Trumbo set a new career high in slugging and his WAR was as high as it's been since the 2013 campaign. Trumbo did slow down in the second half of the season as he's been known to do throughout his career. But his first half was so good it was nearly impossible to continue at the same pace. So a decline was or should have been expected, just maybe not to the extent that he showed. Trumbo's defense was far less than superb, but he does have a great arm, and I would think if he were to re-sign he would DH the majority of the time. The Orioles shouldn't focus solely on Trumbo obviously, but they should make him a competitive offer to try and lure him back to Charm City. It may not be enough to bring him back, unless the market for Trumbo crashes, but the Orioles shouldn't be offering anymore than a three-year, $33 million contract. With more than just one hole to fill, they can't spend too much on the right-handed slugger, leaving them handicapped to address other needs.