Critics of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ trade for Mark Trumbo have been quick to point out a pair of flaws in Trumbo’s game: strikeouts and defense.
And while the 27-year-old knows his role is to be a middle-of-the-order power bat that hits home runs and produces as much offense as possible, he also said he’s aware that becoming a more well-rounded player is crucial to helping a team like the D-backs make a playoff run — and hopefully soon.
“I’m not cool with strikeouts,” Trumbo told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns & Gambo Wednesday. “I understand it’s part of the game, but up until last year I’ve always kept them in check. I’m going to make some adjustments. I’ve started hitting earlier than ever this offseason just with the mindset of getting back to being more productive all around, to be a more complete player.
“This is my fourth year in the big leagues. It’s time to start making some adjustments.”
Trumbo said the heavy night air and pitcher-friendly environment at Angel Stadium of Anaheim may have led to him becoming more pull-happy and developing bad habits, and that he’s looking forward to playing at Chase Field — widely regarded as one of the most hitter-friendly stadiums in baseball.
But what about his defense in left field after bouncing between corner infield and outfield spots while with the Angels?
“I’ve switched positions so much I’ve never had one spot to call my own, which I think can kind of hurt you as a defender,” Trumbo said. “It’ll be nice to learn the nuances out there and try and provide the best defense I can. I think it’s every position player’s dream to have one spot to call your own.”
Although Trumbo has been regarded as a below-average defender at nearly every position he’s played — his best position has been first base, but the Diamondbacks obviously have that locked down with Paul Goldschmidt — he has the physical tools to be at least passable as an outfielder.
Trumbo has a strong arm — he was drafted as a pitcher — and while the 6-foot-4, 235-pounder’s size restricts his range, he’s made plays on the balls he’s been able to get to. And with the Diamondbacks’ rangy centerfielders, Trumbo’s lack of range won’t be exposed like it might have been in a less-athletic outfield.
“I’m super excited,” Trumbo said. “I don’t know anybody terribly well but I know a few of the guys. That’s what spring training’s for. I have no doubt in my mind I’ll jump in and fit in with the guys. I’ve talked to a few of the coaches by now and things couldn’t be any better.”