MMO Mailbag: Trading For Promising Outfielders?

An article by posted on January 4, 2013

Andrew asks:

I know there is no way the Marlins would trade Stanton to us, but I see a few other solid young outfielders that could help the Mets in a big way. What about Mark Trumbo of the Angels, A.J. Pollock from the Dbacks, or Gary Brown from the Giants? Trumbo would be the most ideal, but the other two could be good pieces too. Brown could be an ideal leadoff hitter with speed which we lack. Thoughts?

Sean Kenny replies:

The Stanton debate will keep on raging until he is traded for a systems promising starter, two top prospects and possibly another position player – something I don’t see the Mets doing. However, the other options you propose are interesting at the least, and the likelihood of each varies from “could happen” to “Not tonight, boss”.

Mark Trumbo was held on to by the Angels, and despite the fact they signed Josh Hamilton to a lucrative contract Trumbo will see plenty of starts from the DH position as well as LF/RF. While the power in his bat in real – his outfield defense is pretty bad using both the eye test and advanced metrics. The soon-to-be 27 year old is hitting his peak in terms of offensive approach but defensively will always be a rough outfielder. However, the Angels seem reluctant to trade with Josh Hamilton’s injury history, an aging Albert Pujols and the fact that teams in the AL West can never have too much offense. The hypothetical return would be a young, cost controlled starter at the higher end of the spectrum and a settling package would seem to be a package of an MLB arm/MiLB arm and another prospect.

A.J. Pollock is an interesting name who I have rarely heard in trade rumors involving outfielders which is surprising despite his advanced prospect age (25) and the fact he can play all three outfield positions. Pollock has good size and moved through the Dbacks system in three years. The downside of Pollock is he profiles as a center fielder with his numbers, but may not with his range as he ages. If the Dbacks see him as a true CF, his value becomes much higher. The hypothetical return for Pollock could be a league-average MLB starter and an MiLB starter who may be at the A/AA level at the higher end of the spectrum, and the low end of the spectrum would involve an MLB reliever, but for a team like the Dbacks who aren’t competing right now it seems about restocking.

Gary Brown was the rumored player to be going to the Mets in the Beltran-Wheeler deal with the San Francisco Giants, and hindsight makes it seem like a good idea the Mets got their best pitching prospect as opposed to Gary Brown. Gary profiles as a true CF, with some pop, some solid defense and some great speed. While his CS rate has been respectable, 2012 saw him fall to around 66% success, which points towards lack of baserunning instincts, an anomaly of a season or the dreaded slowing down. Brown is still the fourth-best prospect as per John Sickels at MinorLeagueBall.com, so seeing the Giants trade their top offensive prospect would seem to require a power bat at 1B who was either MLB-ready or an MLB regular.

If I had to guess the likeliest of the three to be moved? Pollock. He offers a similar skillset to Adam Eaton and if the Dbacks aren’t competing this year or even next, an outfielder like Pollock offers more in a trade to build for the future. Least likely? Brown – top prospects who can play a true CF don’t get traded frequently.

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