Trade Musing: Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo, And Hank Conger

I used to think the Angels had too many outfielders on their team, then they went ahead and gave Josh Hamilton a five-year $125 million dollar deal. It makes Hamilton the second highest paid position player (AAV) in the game, right behind Alex Rodriguez. It also gives the Angels five potential starting outfielders. With Mike Trout, Hamilton, Mark Trumbo, and Peter Bourjos under team control for at least the next four years, and Vernon Wells under control for the next two, surely the Angels have some outfielders to spare for the poor Yankees.

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The Cashman and Ichiro Suzuki are supposedly finishing up the final touches on a 2 year $12/$13 million contract, and although that gives the team three viable starting outfields, I doubt they’ll be content with the roster. All three of Ichiro, Brett Gardner, and Curtis Granderson wield lefty bats, and even backup Chris Dickerson bats lefty, so as it stands, the team has very little depth in the outfield. Another cause for concern is their ability to stay on the field, since one of these starting outfielders only played 16 games last year, and the other is 39 years old.

If anyone has worries about aging players and platoon splits, it’s the Yankees’ and Joe Girardi‘s notebook. I don’t see anyway the team enters the season with four left handed outfielders. With Granderson off the books and Ichiro a 40 year old in 2014, the team’s best option would be a right handed bat with a good amount of cheap team control. The Angels have what the Yankees need, but how do the Yankees match up with the Angels?

As it stands, the the starting rotation in Anaheim is comprised of Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hanson, Joe Blanton, and Jerome Williams. Garrett Richards, who’s started 12 major league games and struggled mightily, lines up as their 6th starter. Aside from Weaver and Wilson, the Angels should have very little faith in what they’ve setup with their starting rotation. Tommy Hanson‘s shoulder is about to fall off and Joe Blanton is capable of being Joe Blanton, meanwhile Jerome Williams could be lining up as their third starter. The team is likely looking for pitching, and the Yankees are fortunate to have a couple of surplus starters.

David Phelps and Ivan Nova are eyeing the 5th rotation spot for the Yankees, and a few months into the season, Michael Pineda will hopefully make his long awaited debut in pinstripes. That would give the Yankees 7 starting pitchers by mid-season or earlier, and although it’s good to stock up on backups, the free agent market is littered with one-year fifth starters. Phelps and Nova are expendable, and even Phil Hughes isn’t safe from hitting the trade block. What might be best for both teams, is to send pitching to Anaheims for one of Peter Bourjos or Mark Trumbo.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Bourjos is known for his speed and fielding, and is widely considered among the top defensive outfielders. The 25 year old lost his starting job to Mike Trout this season, and in only 195 plate appearances, he hit .220/.291/.315. The offensive numbers are abysmal, but in 2011, Bourjos hit a much more impressive .271/.327/.438 with 12 homeruns and 22 stolen bases. If 2011 is any indication of the type of player he is, Bourjos is comes from the same cloth as Brett Gardner, with similar speed, slightly less on base percentage, but slightly more power potential. He’ll likely never be a star hitter, but in 2011, he produced a 4.5 fWAR, and was on pace to do the same in 2012. For comparison’s sake, in Nick Swisher‘s best season, 2010, he put up just 4.1 fWAR.

Then there’s Mark Trumbo, another right handed bat, but with much more pop. Trumbo gets a lot of slack from most people for his low on base percentage, but with 61 home runs under his belt in his first two major league seasons, you can’t over look the offensive potential. From April 6th to July 17th of last season, Trumbo hit .311/.361/.634 with 26 home runs. As strong as he started out, Trumbo would finish the season with 251 plate appearances where he hit just .213/.259/.302 with just 6 home runs, 84 strikeouts, and 13 walks. It would appear that the league figured out how to pitch to the 26 year old, but if a team believes they know how to fix the holes in his swing, he could be a star hitter. There’s a lot of potential in his bat, but there’s also a lot of risk. Also, he’s awful in the outfield, but perhaps the short right field in Yankee Stadium will help his defensive metrics.

I see Trumbo being the hardest of the two to pry away from the Angels. They still have the option to keep Trumbo at DH and trade Kendrys Morales, who is only under team control for another year, so you’d have to add quite a bit to a package to make it worth their while.

(Phil Richmond/MiLB.com)

The Yankees should have interest in one of these right handed bats, and they might even look to trade for some other pieces. Anaheim recently extended their starting catcher Chris Iannetta to a three-year $15.55 million deal, which leaves the 24-year old switch hitting Hank Conger without a starting gig. Although Conger hit well in the minors, and showed off a good eye and few strikeouts, he’s struggled at the major league level. Conger has some potential with his bat, and PECOTA projects him to hit .260/.331/.407 with 14 homeruns in 2013.

Defensively, he doesn’t appear to have the greatest arm for a catcher, but he’s done a great job blocking the plate, allowing just one passed ball in his 585.0 innings. The Yankees are big on pitch framing, and although there’s little data to back up his performance, the Angels are well regarded for developing good framing catchers. Jim Bowden called his framing excellent at one point.

If the Yankees end up signing Ichiro Suzuki, acquiring Bourjos/Trumbo and Conger would answer to a lot of the issues the team’s roster currently faces. More important than the 2013 problems, a trade would answer many of the budget questions in 2014. The asking price shouldn’t be ridiculously high either, I’d say one of their starting pitchers and some mid-level prospects gets a deal done, though it could get more expensive depending on how the Angels value Trumbo.

Mike is the co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money. Outside of blogging baseball, Mike is also a musician, a runner, and a beer lover.

11 thoughts on “Trade Musing: Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo, And Hank Conger

  1. Chris

    I don’t see how Bourjous makes, he should be a center fielder, he wants to start, and the Yankees need a right handed platoon bat for the corners. If we were looking for a starting center fielder I’d be all over it, however we already have Gardner and he’s proven to be a guy who gets on base at a much higher clip than Bourjous.

    Trumbo makes more sense because of the right handed power but I have little interest in paying that price tag. He’s not a true right fielder first off, he’s terrible in the outfield and he should be a DH or 1B anyway. Second yeah the HRs are nice but the Yankees already have a lot of HR ability even without Swisher, Martin, and Youk replacing Arod. Trumbo can hit 30 HRs sure but it comes with an OBP of .290-.320 and a SLG% under .500, do we really need to add another DH, one who’s strikeout, HR, or nothing? If he was coming cheap that would be one thing but as is we have to beat out RA Dickey as an option and Nova and Phelps simply don’t do that for a win now at all costs team like the Angels.

  2. Max

    Seems like trading for Conger makes a lot of sense. Trumbo is too streaky and too costly in prospects. It seems like they will ask too much for Bourjos as well (and he doesn’t really fit the Yankees’ needs).

  3. hawaii dave

    Get Trout.

    • fuster

      good thinking. the Angels would probably trade Trout in a heartbeat if we offer Nova.

  4. Greg

    it’s always great where one side of a conversation talks to itself. You always end up confirming what you want to believe. The thought that the Angels would give the Yankees Trumbo and Conger for Yankees dreck is ridiculous. First, the Angels have only 2 catchers; why would they give the Yankees one? Second, Trumbo hit 60 HR’s over the past 2 years; where else could you find that cheap production? For Trumbo, bet the Angels would want Robertson, Williams and Banuelos. Are you game?

    • Chris

      They wouldn’t want Banuelos, he’s fallen off pretty far in the past two years and now he’s going to miss all of 2013 with Tommy John. Plus they already have a pretty good bullpen so Robertson doesn’t really fit the win now need. The Angels need starting pitching that can help win a World Series in 2013 and 2014, we simply don’t match up at alll.

      For the record I’m not disagreeing with you, simply strengthening your point that we don’t matchup.

  5. fredweis

    I think the Yanks are better off trading Granderson for a right handed hitting OF and 1-2 high-level prospects.

    Ryan Doumit from Minnesota could be an interesting fit too, since he can play C and OF. They just traded Span and Revere, but I don’t know if they would be willing to pick up all of Granderson’s salary. John Mayberry from the Phillies is another option and I think Philly is willing to add Grandy’s salary to compete this year.

    Cashman also needs to move Grandy if he wants to resign Ibanez. We can’t have 4 left handed hitting OF’s. Ibanez wants to return and deserves to be re-signed.

    I see Bourjos, Morales and Conger going to the Mets in a deal for RA Dickey. The Mets are desperate for outfield help, and Bourjos is a perfect fit for them at the top of the order. Adding Dickey to Weaver and Wilson makes the Angels rotation playoff formidable.

    • Chris

      I’m not sure Granderson can bring 1-2 high level prospects by themselves, let alone for that AND a starting RH bat. As on the decline as he is, over 30, with one year left his value is limited. You might be able to get 1 lower end top 10 organizational prospect, or a corner outfielder a team isn’t high on anymore, but getting multiple top end pieces is almost certainly out the window.

      Not sure why the Phillies would be interested in trading more prospects for another center fielder when they just traded Trevor May and Vance Worley for Ben Revere. If the Yanks were going to deal Granderson to the Phillies it seems that ship has sailed, otherwise the Phillies would be putting Curtis in left field further lowering his trade value.

      Not really sure why Ibanez “deserves” to be re-signed, he showed power but .240/.308/.453 isn’t super special. I also don’t see Ibanez coming back to play outfield, he’d likely be the startingh DH and the Yanks would find a cheap scrap heap option to be the right handed 4th outfielder. In that sense you don’t have to trade Granderson, plus unless you are getting something great back tradingh Granderson to re-sigh Ibanez is a terrible option

      Bourjous and Conger makes sense, Morales really doesn’t. He’s only got 1 year left, he’s really become more of a DH after the injury, and the Mets aren’t competing any time soon. I think they’d rather get another young prospect in that deal over Morales, plus I think the Angels would want to keep their DH since they are all in on 2013.

    • fuster

      Dickey couldn’t command a return of three major-league starting caliber players in a trade. that’s outlandish,

  6. Yankee Insider

    Ok so this is what’s gonna happen. Theres going to be a three team trade: yanks,angels, unknown. The Angels will salary dump wells to the yanks and the unknown team will trade yanks prospects. The yanks will trade the unknown team granderson and Hughes to the angels. The unknown team trades someone to yanks(infielder/catcher/or prospects). This is because the yanks are all lefty when ichiro signs. So wells could either do LF platoon with Dickerson or he could play left on his own. He also fills jones spot as righty OF. He also is under control for 2 years….. Just a thought. It wouldn’t be as big as Miami/Toronto trade but it’d be big since the yanks would get catcher/wells or RH OF/ Backup infielder/Utility. Maybe the unknown team could be Cleveland and then get Santana/wells/UTIL.

    Agree or Disagree? Its not like wells sucks it’ll be like the burnett trade. Wells will come back and hit .265+ with 15-20HR (maybe) that’s just an equivalent to what burnett did with 21 wins.

    • Chris

      Wells doesn’t suck? Since when 2010?

      2011- .218/.248/.412
      2012- .230/.279/.403

      Wells has been below league average 3 of the last 4 years and 4 of the last 6, I think “sucks” is actually a little underwhelming when describing how god awful he’s been in recent years.

      Besides that the Yankees can’t take on that kind of salary, he’s going to be making 21 million dollars each of the next 2 seasons. They would have to completely abandon the idea of the 189 million dollar payroll just to add a right handed platoon bat to the bench. Besides that you’d be trading 40 HRs and 200 innings between Hughes and Granderson, with no real way to replace either ones production in 2013, or thanks to his salary 2014.

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