Winter Meetings Links
White Sox receives: OF Adam Eaton
As I've covered in the Live Blog/Chat, I think Trumbo is exactly the kind of player old-school types tend to overrate (HR and RBI power hitter with no speed or defensive value) and said it will say a lot about Arizona GM Kevin Towers if he chooses Trumbo over the more analysis-friendly option he was considering, signing free agent OF Shin-soo Choo. I would've signed Choo in that binary decision, paying about $10 million more per year for a longer amount of time, but costing nothing in prospects and getting at least one win more per year if not two in the short-term from a player that should age better than Trumbo.
Trumbo has plus-plus raw power and an above average arm along with decent hands that play well at first base, but has somer serious contact and on-base issues and he'll be forced to left field in Arizona with Paul Goldschmidt at first base. Using Trumbo sub-optimally in the outfield, where he can only hope to be average with some work, causes this deal to make even less sense for Arizona, with so many outfield options still out there. Towers clearly wanted right-handed power to put in an outfield corner, found the biggest power on the market and then did what he had to do to make it happen. This is how bad decisions get made.
The other two prospects Arizona stands to receive haven't been announced yet but are believe to be Jacobs and Schugel as noted above. Schugel isn't much, just an inventory arm for AAA while Jacobs has some similarities to Trumbo. I saw Jacobs recently in the Arizona Fall League (Video) and he offers easy plus raw power and looks like what you expect a guy to look like who had a scholarship to play fullback at Auburn. He is still young and athletic but has some trouble with off-speed stuff and is striking out roughly 25% of the time in the minors, enough to give him trouble always getting to his power in games. I've got Jacobs as a platoon bat or fringe everyday player and that projection should jump or tail off a notch with another season or two at the upper levels.
I can see the motivation for Arizona to move two extra pieces for a middle of the lineup bat, but this isn't good asset management, despite the D'Backs still having excess big league ready pieces like Archie Bradley, Matt Davidson and Chris Owings sitting at AAA with a full big league roster. Eaton is an overachiever with average-ish tools but above average contact rates, above average speed, good instincts and gap power. He's somewhere from really good 4th outfielder to solid everyday outfielder and can play all three outfield positions with enough power to punish mistakes and hit double digit homers, but not enough to be a threat.
Arizona also traded Skaggs, who ironically has been traded twice, both times between the D'Backs and Angels with Jerry DiPoto trading for him both times (first as the interim GM for Arizona, acquiring Skaggs in the Dan Haren deal and now as the GM of the Angels). Skaggs stuff has backed up a bit and he hasn't found the consistency and command to contribute in long stretches at the big league level while Pat Corbin and Wade Miley found that stride quicker and passed him by internally. There's still a solid shot Skaggs is an average to above big league starter with a three pitch mix and a track record of throwing feel, but is in need of some adjustments to take that last step.
The Angels did what they were looking to do, flipping Trumbo into two arms, while the White Sox picked up a nice versatile bat with an arm, Santiago, that they can replace internally as they have some starting pitching depth. I prefer Eaton to Santiago because when in doubt you take the bat given pitcher attrition but also because Santiago is a bit of a weird case. He went from generic minor league reliever to starting prospect in 2011 with some adjustments: a new changeup and a screwball. Santiago's fastball is up to 96 at times, and he has solid-average stuff from a four pitch mix and some feel, but is an extreme fly ball pitcher that stands only 6'0 tall. There's more ways that can fall apart than what Eaton does can fall apart, but I also am not a huge fan of Trumbo, so both the Angels and White Sox come out pretty well in this deal while Arizona is busy literally swinging for the fences.