BY L.E. MILLER, @LEMillerBMore
There's no cute way around this. Mark Trumbo has been bad this year. Since a highwater mark of a passable .278/.332/.435 on June 1st – an OK line but not really good for a DH – the slugger has hit a pitiful .216/.268/.392 over an extended stretch of 354 plate appearances. No small sample size there.
The fact that Buck Showalter has stuck with him seemingly no matter what even as the team clung to life, and eventually fell off, in the Wild Card chase really amplified his struggles this year. Signed for two more years, and with Chris Davis' future production entirely in question, the Birds will definitely be counting on the big righty to bounce back in 2018.
It is a shame that Showalter has thrown Trumbo to the wolves day in and day out because his splits show a competent .283/.322/.471 slash line in 146 PAs against southpaws. Against the righties in 434 PAs though, he's only managed a .225/.283/.388. In a platoon he might have been viewed as a disappointing, but somewhat productive, member of this squad instead of a lead anchor.
I think that it is fairly likely that we do see a bounce-back campaign from Trumbo next year. He's not really old, and he's never been this bad in his career before. The worst OPS+ he's ever posted in any significant time was during his injury abbreviated 2014 campaign, and that was still a basically league average 95 mark. This year he's slumped all the way to an OPS+ of 86.
Think about this. In a year where home runs have been hit at a record pace...Mark Trumbo has barely cracked 20. That doesn't seem quite right.
Trumbo did deal with an abdominal injury this year and its reasonable to assume this has impacted his play. Hopefully with a healthy start next year Orioles will see some better production out of him, but if they don't he can't just start full time again just because they are paying him.