Three-way benefit: Applauding an old-fashioned trade
With Trumbo, Skaggs and Eaton switching sides, all parties get something they need
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- This is the second time Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has acquired left-handed pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
In August 2010, Dipoto traded for Skaggs when Skaggs was with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Dipoto was GM of the D-backs when he traded veteran pitcher Dan Haren to the Angels for right-handed pitcher Rafael Rodriguez and left-handers Patrick Corbin, Joe Saunders and Skaggs.
Now, three years and four months later, Skaggs returns to the Angels. This time, he fetched the power bat the D-backs had been seeking since the season ended.
In a three-team trade that included the Angels, D-backs and White Sox, each team met pre-Winter Meetings needs with one blockbuster deal.
Arizona will receive power hitting outfielder/first baseman Mark Trumbo. The Angels will receive Skaggs and left-handed pitcher Hector Santiago from the White Sox. The White Sox will add speedy and solid defensive outfielder Adam Eaton from the D-backs. Arizona will also receive one player to be named from each the Angels and White Sox.
Power, pitching, speed and defense were packaged in the same deal.
Trumbo is a 6-foot-4, 235-pound, 27-year-old right-handed hitter entering what should be his peak years. He brings an increasingly rare talent to the D-backs. In his first four years with the Angels, he hit 95 home runs. This past season, he clubbed 34 and drove in 100 runs.
Hitting in Arizona's Chase Field, Trumbo's numbers could easily top 40 and 115.
The major benefactor in the deal could be power-hitting first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who is fresh off notching career highs of 36 homers and 125 RBIs in only his third year as a Major League player.
I was fortunate to watch almost every one of Goldschmidt's home games in person. Frankly, pitchers didn't give him too much to hit in the second half of the season. He really wasn't surrounded in the lineup with much firepower.
That has changed. Trumbo will force pitchers to respect his power ability, providing pitches for Goldschmidt to hit.
There will be an adjustment period for Trumbo as he transitions from the American to National League.
And let us not forget -- Trumbo will now also be hitting in Colorado, a hitter-friendly environment. But he may be challenged a bit in San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, the other NL West parks.
Skaggs is key for the Angels.
At only 22 years old, the Angels get a 6-foot-5, 215-pound starting pitcher who can slip into the rotation immediately. The left-hander lost a bit of velocity as the season wore on in 2013. He throws from 88-92 mph with his fastball and changes eye levels and balance well with a 75-mph curveball. His curve is a dandy.
For me, Skaggs has to trust his stuff more. He has to make more common use of his advanced curveball and pitch to all quadrants of the plate. Working away and then busting a hitter inside will work well with his full repertoire of plus pitches. All he lacks is confidence and a bit more "big-stage" experience. He has upside that he can realize as quickly as the coming season.
Eaton was hurt as the 2013 season unfolded. I believe he may have returned too quickly. He tried too hard to live up to his very positive advanced billings as a speedy contact hitter with good defensive ability.
Eaton fell short of expectations by failing to get on base often enough to use his plus speed to steal bases. In addition, he got some late reads on balls hit to center field and struggled at times to be the defender he had always projected. His playing time diminished as A.J. Pollock saw increased opportunities to play center field as the season wore on.
It appears Pollock will likely inherit the center field role from Eaton.
With the White Sox, Eaton will have a fresh start. He can become a successful center fielder in the AL Central.
Santiago goes to a good pitching environment in Anaheim. As a 6-foot, 210-pound lefty, he can pitch at any point of the game. He can start, or pitch in long or short relief.
Santiago has some work to do with his command, as he has walked an average of 4.5 hitters per nine innings. But the Angels likely see the same potential scouts have seen from Santiago. He has a good arm that, with refinement and coaching, has the potential to be an impactful one.
Santiago has an outstanding repertoire of pitches. He just has to learn sequencing and pacing of that full repertoire to get the maximum from his ability. He throws a four-seam fastball at 91-92 mph, a sinker, a cutter at 87 mph, a changeup, a curveball and a screwball.
This was a good, old-fashioned baseball trade. Pitching for hitting. Speed for pitching. It all makes sense. Now we have to see how each of the three teams benefits from meeting their self-defined needs.
Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff; on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.