Shortly before the start of Wednesday's White Sox - Rangers game, reports of Mark Trumbo's trade from the Diamondbacks to the Mariners were starting to show up. The last time I wrote about Mark Trumbo, I was writing about his trade to the Diamondbacks. Now, about a year and a half later, his time with the Diamondbacks is done. He's bounced back off of a tough 2014 and has a wRC+ of 115. His 0.5 WAR is significantly better than the White Sox batters' -0.8 WAR. But the more things change, the more things stay the same.
Mark Trumbo 2015 OBP: .299 Mark Trumbo career OBP: .298— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) June 3, 2015
Guess who else has a career OBP of .298 -- Dayan Viciedo.
When last we left the Dayan Viciedo to Seattle rumors this past winter, the Mariners were claiming that the talks were one-sided despite reports of Mariner interest from a Seattle beat writer. After the Sox signed Melky Cabrera and waived Viciedo, I certainly thought Viciedo would somehow make his way to the Emerald City, but the Blue Jays followed their m.o. and claimed him before anyone else had a chance.
If Mark Trumbo had a spirit animal last season, it was Dayan Viciedo. In an injury shortened 2014 season, Trumbo slashed .235/.293/.415. Viciedo hit .231/.281/.405. Although the thought is a bit like a Would You Rather... book, you'd rather have Viciedo in the outfield than Trumbo. When Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers announced that Trumbo would be playing in the outfield, the surprise almost reached Rick Hahn cussword levels.
In Trumbo's defense, he's been an adequate first baseman over his career OPS of .762 is 40 points higher than Viciedo's .722. With Logan Morrison at first base though, Trumbo is headed to the Mariners' left field where he might actually be an improvement over Rickie Weeks, Dustin Ackley, and the others the Mariners have tried out there. That defensive improvement is still a couple runs a season worse than Dayan Viciedo.
Now, the Mariners get to find out whether Trumbo returns to the 2+ WAR player he was for the Angels or whether he's the Viciedo level player he was last season with a much higher price tag. The Mariners gave up Welington Castillo, pitcher Dominic Leone, and prospects Gabby Guerrero and Jack Reinheimer for Trumbo and Vidal Nuno. That seems like a lot more than the Sox could have been asking for Viciedo after signing Melky Cabrera. Trumbo's $6.9 million contract for 2015 is also over 50% more than the $4.4 million Viciedo would have gotten. For now, it's anyone's guess whether this will work out for the Mariners, but trading for Viciedo probably wouldn't have been much worse.