The Los Angeles Angels have acquired the young pitching they so desired in a three-team trade, picking up Tyler Skaggs from the Diamondbacks and Hector Santiago from the White Sox. In exchange, the Angels are sending Mark Trumbo and a player to be named later (rumored to be AJ Schugel) to Arizona, while the White Sox pick up Adam Eaton from the Diamondbacks while also sending a player to be named later. Got all of that?
Earlier today, our Amanda Rykoff explained Arizona's logic in wanting Trumbo from a source – essentially, because they wanted to replace the power Justin Upton added to their lineup. Upton was traded to Atlanta last offseason. Also today, our Garrett Wilson wondered about the confusing way Kevin Towers was attempting to improve his team, as Trumbo and Shin-Soo Choo are polar opposites as players and both were targeted by Towers.
Trumbo is the most well-known name of the four in the trade, so all attention will immediately be thrust upon him. And while Trumbo, who will turn 28 in January, has tremendous power, he brings little else to the table. In three full seasons with the Angels, Trumbo has a .299 on-base percentage, topping out at .317 in 2012. His strikeout rate has increased (along with his walk rate, to be fair) in each of his three seasons in the majors, while his isolated power has remained remarkably consistent. But Trumbo really can't play the field well anywhere but first base, and the Diamondbacks are set there thanks to the presence of NL MVP runner-up Paul Goldschmidt.
I don't know where he's going to get playing time in Arizona. Parra will likely end up shifting to center field after winning a 2013 Gold Glove in right field. Cody Ross will end up taking Parra's spot in right, despite never playing a full season there over his career (but grading out very well in limited playing time). I'd imagine Trumbo would get a decent bit of playing time in left and AJ Pollock, who had an impressive rookie season this year, will be shifted to the bench despite being a vastly superior fielder.
The Angels get the young pitching they desired. Skaggs was initially drafted by the Angels and traded to the Diamondbacks (and current Los Angeles GM Jerry DiPoto) as part of the Dan Haren trade. Now, Skaggs is back with the Angels, though a drop in velocity and a disappointing seven game stint in the majors in 2013 has dimmed his star a bit. But Skaggs is still just 22, and the left-hander managed to strike out 107 in 104 innings in AAA this past season.
Santiago, who turns 26 next week, had a solid year in 2013 for the White Sox. In 149 innings, he posted a 3.56 ERA, striking out 137 and walking 72. As a fly ball pitcher, moving from US Cellular Field to Angel Stadium (and throwing the fantastic Los Angeles outfield defense behind him) could benefit him greatly.
As for Eaton, he was supposed to be Arizona's Opening Day center fielder in 2013, but a sprained elbow knocked him out of action for nearly all of the first half. In 66 major league games last year, he hit .252/.314/.360, but the 25-year old was coming off of a monster year in AAA in 2012, hitting .381/.456/.539 with 38 stolen bases for Reno. Adding a player of that caliber to their outfield is a coup for the White Sox, and could facilitate another trade for them – possibly Adam Dunn, Dayan Viciedo, or Alejandro de Aza.
All in all, I think this trade will be judged as to what happens afterwards. Sure, the Angels have a couple of young left-handers – but are they both going to be immediately thrown into the rotation? Yes, the Diamondbacks have Trumbo's power in the lineup – but do they really intend to play him every day in the outfield. Yes, the White Sox have another young, talented bat to join Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu – but what are they going to do about the surplus they have now?
In a vacuum, the Angels look like clear winners, while the situations in Arizona and Chicago have gotten a bit cloudier. The Diamondbacks have continued to thin our their farm system in an attempt to win now, and they're going to need to win more than 81 games (for the third straight year) in 2014 to make selling low on Skaggs and Eaton look worth it.