By Ryan Decker
For the second offseason in a row, Baltimore Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette dangled his biggest fish out for everyone to see.
Just about any of the other 29 teams in the league could’ve snagged power-hitting first baseman Chris Davis last winter, and the same held true this offseason when outfielder Mark Trumbo became a free agent.
Trumbo, like a couple other big-name players, thought he was worth more than the market deemed him to be, so he and his agent at the Wasserman Media Group waited… and waited… and waited.
Duquette and company patiently waited, as reports throughout the offseason shifted seemingly week to week at times as to whether or not the team would re-sign last year’s MLB home run champ.
The waiting is now over, as Trumbo signed a three-year, $37.5 million deal Thursday night to return to Baltimore and save the Orioles’ season before it even started.
Trumbo’s return obviously helps Buck Showalter and company tremendously.
He’s a natural power hitter, who just had the best season of his career in hitter-friendly Camden Yards. He’s at least serviceable in right field, and can also play some first and provide definite pop from the DH spot in the lineup.
Trumbo’s return to the Charm City not only means that his stats have a chance to stay similar to last year’s totals (within reason) but he undeniably helps out the rest of the lineup.
Now hitters like Davis, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, etc. will see better pitches to hit over the course of the season than they would’ve seen had Trumbo signed elsewhere.
It also saves the Orioles starting pitching, which remains a weakness through yet another offseason. And Trumbo returning to Baltimore gives the O’s some flexibility in the event that Pedro Alvarez does not return, through some of what I mentioned earlier.
It’s no secret that the AL East is once again on of the best divisions in baseball.
Boston won the division crown last year and is primed for another 90+ win season. New York is stockpiling talent left and right, and appears is on the cusp of once again going on another run of title contention. Toronto also remains a talented team thanks to the Jays recently agreeing to terms with Jose Bautista.
Baltimore may arguably be fourth best without Trumbo. With him, and the Orioles are right back towards the top.
The 31-year-old’s contract will likely be the last deal that is signed by the O’s this offseason, but it’s by far the most important signature on the dotted line that’s been had, as well.