Angels Free Agency Primer: First Base

The Angels should've gotten elite production out of their first basemen last season, instead they got one guy hobbling around on one leg and another who might as well have been swinging with his eyes closed. So what do the Angels do now? Can they really count on Pujols coming back healthy for a full season? Will Mark Trumbo be able to rebound from another terrible second half or will he be sent packing via trade?

What they already have: Albert Pujols (111 wRC+, 0.7 fWAR),  Mark Trumbo (106 wRC+, 2.5 fWAR)

If Arte Moreno loses his mind… he'll demand that they sign Mike Napoli even if it means paying him an extra $20 million to convince Napoli to set aside his animosity towards Scioscia. Then Napoli will come back to Anaheim, get into it with Scioscia again and throw the clubhouse into a vortex of turmoil.

If the Angels are willing to take a huge risk… then Mark Trumbo will get traded. His wretched second half has hurt his value, but there are a number of teams out there that still covet his power. Now, if his 2014 season resembles his 2013 season, then his value is going to fall off a cliff, so moving Trumbo now makes sure they get good value on him while they can. Outside of Kendrick, he is probably the best bet to return a quality starting pitching prospect to slot into one of the empty rotation spots. On the other hand, moving Trumbo exposes them to a massive amount of risk. If Albert Pujols gets hurt again or just isn't any good anymore, then they have no real alternative at first base and no non-Trout source of right-handed power. They could roll the dice on a player like Corey Hart or Mike Morse to take Trumbo's spot, but there are major durability concerns there. Then if Trumbo lights it up for some other team, the fans might never forgive Dipoto for trading away a homegrown fan favorite who blossomed elsewhere.

If the Angels want troll their own fans… they'll sign Kendrys Morales and forfeit the first round pick in the process. I'd expand on this joke more, but I am kind of afraid that it might come true.

If the Angels are savvy and conservative… the will do absolutely nothing here. The best thing that could happen to the Angels is just letting Albert Pujols get healthy. Even if he isn't playing at superhuman form again, it isn't a stretch to think he could be at least a four win player if his body allows him to. But to keep him healthy they need a viable first baseman to rotate with him at first base and DH. Trumbo is already in place, so don't mess with it.

What the Angels will probably do is… shop Trumbo but hold onto him because they are asking too much for him. It has always seemed to me that the Halos value Trumbo more than they should largely because he is from Anaheim and the Angels love him. Granted, finding guys who can consistently slug 30+ homers is hard to do, but that sub-.300 OBP is a huge problem that a lot of teams would not tolerate. Even if you find the right organization that is willing to overlook his contact issues, they aren't going to overpay based on the premium the Angels will charge to let go of a hometown hero. So Trumbo will probably stay and spend the season rotating through DH, first base and the outfield.

Garrett Wilson

About Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is the founder and Supreme Overlord of and editor at The Outside Corner. He's an Ivy League graduate, but not from one of the impressive ones. You shouldn't make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he is angry.