GLENDALE, Ariz. — When Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers agreed Tuesday to pull the trigger on a three-team deal that sent left-handed pitcher Tyler Skaggs to the Los Angeles Angels and outfielder Adam Eaton to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Mark Trumbo and a pair of minor-league prospects, he did so with one player in mind: Paul Goldschmidt.
In 2013, the D-backs first baseman hit .302 with a National League-leading 36 home runs, 125 RBI and a slugging percentage of .551. While those offensive numbers were gaudy to say the least, they came without the luxury of having much protection on either side of the lineup.
Arizona finished fourth in the National League in on-base percentage and fifth in batting average, runs scored and RBI, but a combination of injuries and inconsistent play robbed Aaron Hill, Cody Ross, Jason Kubel and Miguel Montero of their collective ability to provide much of a consistent threat in the lineup, and in turn the offense more often than not resembled a one-man show down the stretch.
By season’s end, the 2013 Silver Slugger finished tied for second in all of baseball with 19 intentional walks and fourth in all of baseball with 99 total free passes.
So, suffice it to say that the National League MVP runner-up is thrilled to finally have another potent bat joining him in the Valley come 2014.
“First off, it’s tough to lose guys, players that you like and friends and teammates like Skaggs and Eaton,” said Goldschmidt, who was honored in a pre-game ceremony before the Phoenix Coyotes’ contest Saturday night. “But getting a player like Trumbo who has proven himself and obviously has a lot of skills I think will be great for the team.”
“I’ve talked to him a few times. I’ve spoken to guys who have played with and against him. Everyone speaks highly of him both on and off the field. I’m excited to get to know him, talk some baseball with him, hitting and defense. He’s a very knowledgeable player.”
In Trumbo, the D-backs have added more right-handed power — which is becoming rarer and rarer in the middle of most orders — as the 27-year-old slugged 30 doubles and a career-high 34 home runs and 100 RBI during his final campaign with Los Angeles.
In fact, Trumbo and Goldschmidt were two of only seven players to go 30-30-100 last season.
“Hopefully we can do it again,” said Goldschmidt. “That would be pretty good.”
While his defensive prowess in the outfield has been met with plenty of skepticism since the trade went down earlier this week, if nothing else the former All-Star’s presence at the plate should take a bit of the pressure off of Goldschmidt when it comes to being “the man” on a nightly basis.
But does simply acquiring more pop to complement Goldschmidt make the D-backs a legitimate challenger to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West?
“I honestly think it’ll take every guy on our roster and some guys that aren’t on our roster right now and maybe won’t be there Opening Day,” said Goldschmidt. “It’s a long season, and we’re all going to have our ups and downs. That’s when you need all eight or nine guys in the lineup plus guys coming off the bench with big hits, bullpen guys getting outs, defensive replacements making plays and starting pitchers still doing it.
“The way this roster is constructed and the thing Gibby and everyone is going to preach is that we’re going to need every guy to contribute. I think that’s what it’s going to take.”