Friday, December 9, 2011
Mark Trumbo realizes trade is possible
By Mark Saxon
Thursday was a strange day for Mark Trumbo.
Like any other Los Angeles Angels fan, he celebrated the team's signing of superstar slugger Albert Pujols. Unlike other Angels fans, his future employment is now in limbo because of it.
Trumbo, the Angels' Rookie of the Year runner-up first baseman, acknowledged Friday that being traded now is a distinct possibility.
Trumbo grew up about 10 minutes from Angel Stadium and still lives in the area. He woke up Thursday to dozens of text messages informing him of the Pujols news, a development he said caught him "a little bit off guard."
"I've been an Angel fan for 25 years, so I guess there is some fear of the unknown there," Trumbo said. "I don't know what's going on behind the scenes, though, and in all likelihood I'm probably still going to be here. If it does happen, I have to adjust again and figure it out as we go."
Trumbo said manager Mike Scioscia called him Thursday to tell him he could get at-bats as a third baseman, corner outfielder and designated hitter next year, but Trumbo has been playing first base exclusively since his first season of professional baseball. He is recovering from a stress fracture in his right foot and has yet to be cleared for baseball activities, further setting back his work at third base.
"I know what I can take care of, that's me getting healthy and then me taking care of business on the field wherever that might be," Trumbo said. "Obviously, first base doesn't look like an option any more. Albert is our every-day first baseman. I'm going to have to make an adjustment."
Trumbo batted .254 with 29 home runs and 87 RBIs -- becoming the first rookie ever to lead the Angels in those last two categories -- and finished second to Tampa Bay pitcher Jeremy Hellickson in AL Rookie of the Year balloting. The situation next spring is further muddled by the potential return of another slugging first baseman, Kendrys Morales, who has been out since May of 2010 with a broken left ankle.
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said Thursday he would like to keep all three players, but already trade rumors involving Trumbo have popped up. Morales could be in risk of being non-tendered on Monday to save his roughly $3 million salary.
"You have the opportunity from an offensive perspective to plug one of the great hitters of all time into the middle of your lineup," Dipoto said. "And we feel like you can never have too much depth."
Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com.