Mark Trumbo and the Mets' lack of home runs

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Trumbo is not the ideal first baseman, but he sure can hit home runs.

There was a rumor yesterday that the Los Angeles Angels were willing to trade either Mark Trumbo or Peter Bourjos for pitching this winter. Perhaps I'm starting the obvious here, but Trumbo is not the same player as any of the Mets' current internal options: Lucas Duda, Ike Davis, or Josh Satin.

Like many other major league ballplayers, Trumbo isn't without flaws. His on-base percentage has been poor over the course of his career, and he's defensively challenged, particularly as an outfielder. If the Mets were to make a move for Trumbo, it would likely mean they'd be trading one of Davis or Duda and using the other either as Trumbo's platoon partner or as depth in Triple-A Las Vegas.

Over the last three years, the Mets have averaged 4.1 runs per game, which ranks 21st out of 30 major league teams. They've been much better than the cellar-dwelling Marlins and Mariners, but they've been far below baseball's elite offenses like the Red Sox, Rangers, Yankees, Cardinals, and Tigers.

Home runs aren't the only way to score in baseball, but they certainly help. The Mets have hit just 377 since 2011, the fifth-worst total in the game. Sure, the play half of their games in pitcher-friendly Citi Field, but the team has not had much in the way of power. And that's where Trumbo has a leg up on Davis and Duda.

As D.J. Short of HardballTalk pointed out on Twitter, only four players in Major League Baseball have hit more home runs since 2011 than Trumbo: Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Adrian Beltre, and Jay Bruce. And while Davis and Duda are capable of hitting home runs, neither player has done so at the same clip as Trumbo. Duda has hit one home run per 29 plate appearances, Davis one per 25.5, and Trumbo one per 19.5. Even accounting for Trumbo's lower walk rate, he's hit home runs at a significantly more frequent rate than the Mets' pair of left-handed first basemen.

That doesn't mean Trumbo is what the Mets need, of course, but he's one of the best home run hitters in baseball right now. If the team were to acquire him, they'd be prioritizing power over the ability to get on base at first base. That might not be a drastic improvement, but it would be a change.

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