Multiple sources have confirmed that the much talked about trade of Mark Trumbo has been completed. The Angels will be sending Mark Trumbo and a player to be named later to Arizona in exchange for pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs and getting pitcher Hector Santiago from the White Sox, who joined in to make this a three-way deal.
As popular as Trumbo was amongst the fans, this is a big, big win for Jerry Dipoto, especially since it comes off the heels of the Freese-Bourjos trade which was not well received by the critics. What the Angels did here was solve a lot of their problems in one fell swoop and give themselves more options going forward to fine tune the roster. All it cost them was Trumbo, a player with great power but problematic on base skills.
If you look at Trumbo just by his WAR, he is basically a 2.5 WAR player, which makes him slightly above league average. In 224 career innings, Santiago has been worth 1.6 WAR. Skaggs is a rookie with a lot to prove, but Oliver projects for him to be worth 1.5 WAR this season. One league average hitter for two slightly below league average pitchers with upside is one heck of a steal.
The Angels did need to throw in a PTBNL to make it happen. That player is reportedly A.J. Schugel, who is a fringe prospect at best. This is hardly a great loss aside from the fact that Schugel is close to being big league ready. His inclusion doesn't affect the value the Angels reaped here.
What might actually be more valuable than either pitcher is the flexibility this creates. Both Skaggs and Santiago are pre-arbitration available this year while Trumbo was going to make about $4.7 million. They shed all that salary without bringing really any back. That gives the Angels the financial wiggle room to not have to trade Howie Kendrick and still have plenty of money to find cheap replacements for Trumbo at DH as well as make a serious run at Matt Garza or Masahiro Tanaka, a move that almost seems likely.
While the Angels are selling this as filling out their rotation, Santiago and Skaggs both have question marks. Santiago, who is just 26, is just a weird pitcher. He has a wide arsenal but his main offspeed pitch is actually the rarely seen screwball. In his career, he has struggled with command, walking 4.53 batters per nine innings, but he has managed to post a 3.41 ERA. That ERA seems pretty flukish though as his FIP is over a full run higher at 4.49. How much of that is luck and how much is skill remains to be seen. What inflates Santiago's peripherals is that he is an extreme flyball pitcher, so he should be vulnerable to the homer, but thus far it hasn't been a big problem. Moving from Chicago to Anaheim will only help him continue to beat the odds. Where there might be trouble is that Santiago saw his average fastball velocity drop off by 1.4 MPH last season. That velocity dip applied to all of his pitches, so that is a definite red flag. Regardless, Santiago succeeded with the reduced velocity last season, so he should still be a solid #4 starter if his velo doesn't continue to drop.
As for Skaggs, the former Angel prospect who was originally dealt for Dan Haren, he comes back home but with a little less shine on his prospect status. Some still see Skaggs as a potential #2, but the fact that he never really developed the velocity that many expected has hurt his stock. Still, he is armed with a nasty curveball and a serviceable changeup, so he should still be a solid bet to at least become a #3 or #4 starter as soon as this year. Seeing how he is only 22, there is plenty of time to still realize his upside.
In fact, he may well spend another season in the minors. That aforementioned flexibility the Angels got could prompt them to pursue more of a sure thing for the rotation. They have enough room under the luxury tax to make a run at Matt Garza or Masahiro Tanaka now. That could bump Skaggs to the minors to serve as an excellent insurance policy in case of injury or ineffectiveness from Santiago or Garrett Richards.
Replacing Mark Trumbo is something that Dipoto will have to work on now, but having accomplished his goal of getting young, controllable pitching to fill out the rotation, he has to be feeling pretty good. He'll be feeling even better if this move leads to even more improvements to the roster.