Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times tweeted this today:
#Padres interested in #Angels 1B Mark Trumbo. Difficult match; Padres young pitching depth depends on guys coming back from TJ surgery.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 29, 2013
The report in and of itself is not newsworthy, but it is bloggerworthy. No deal is forthcoming and no deal between the two clubs will probably come out of this, but let us indulge the rumor and discuss a little.
This tweet comes on the back of ESPN's Buster Olney tweeting about the Angels wanting pitching in return for Trumbo. So, that's why Trumbo's name is getting asked about (both by the Padres and obviously Bill Shaikin). Before getting into the gory details, I would like to applaud the Padres for at least doing some legwork here. Mark Trumbo is a hitter in his prime (27 years old) and will not be a free agent until after the 2016 season. It is worth investigating any player like that. However, like Shaikin said, this is a difficult match.
Trumbo only plays 1B, LF and DH. The Angels dabbled with him as a 3B, but that dog won't hunt. DH also does not work. The Padres also seem OK in LF and 1B. In one spot Carlos Quentin has a no trade clause and a bat that is pretty useful when it the knees below it aren't aching. Yonder Alonso is certainly capable, and while Trumbo would provide an upgrade would it be enough to justify the cost? The team could certainly find a way to turn around and deal Alonso elsewhere, but that just illustrates the idea that this is a difficult match.
The other problem is what the Padres would be willing to give up. The Angels seem to want pitching and the Padres do not have many options in that area. Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner are not going anywhere. The upside with prospects Robbie Erlin, Matt Wisler, Max Fried, Joe Ross and Keyvius Sampson doesn't seem to justify the incremental upgrade from Alonso to Trumbo. Perhaps a Matt Andriese makes more sense, but that doesn't seem like a sexy enough name to make the Angels even think about biting.
Speaking of sexy, that 30 HRs/year that Trumbo has put up is smokin' hot. And that's exactly the type of power that many would like to see added to the Padres lineup. However, there is a reason the Angels find him expendable. He has trouble not making outs. Last year, the his percentage of plate appearances that resulted in outs rivaled Nick Hundley and Alexi Amarista. Those home runs drive in runs, but making outs leaves a bunch on the basepaths. In the end he still ends up as a useful player, but not to the point where you want to give up your best prospects/trading chits in order to acquire him. Especially when you consider what the Padres already have at the positions he plays.