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Mark Trumbo giving Orioles plenty of evidence as they create first evaluation this spring

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
Does Mark Trumbo make up for spotty defense with his power?

As the Orioles get to know right fielder Mark Trumbo, he’s giving them plenty of good by way of a first impression without answering every question the team might have with Opening Day approaching.

The presumptive everyday right fielder and yet another big bat in the heart of the Orioles order continued his spring home run spree Friday at Ed Smith Stadium, but balanced out a pair of strong early defensive plays with a bad read on a fly ball in the New York Yankees’ two-run seventh inning.

Manager Buck Showalter decided to focus on Trumbo’s outstanding arm, which he showcased twice in the Yankees’ third inning, than the costly mistake.

“He threw the ball well,” Showalter said. “He got a rough break on the ball that sailed on him. That’s a weapon that he’ll have similar to Dariel [Alvarez]. He can really throw. That part of it’s going to be good.”

Seemingly all spring long, it has been Trumbo’s defense under scrutiny. He knows as much, and that’s seemingly well-worn territory, but there’s only a handful of players who can do it all.

Trumbo does what he does well, very well. Defensively, it’s the arm that is his carrying tool.

The third inning Friday was one of Trumbo's more encouraging defensive sequences this spring. On a double to right-center field, Trumbo took a good route to quickly field the ball on a hop off the wall, and threw in to nearly cut Didi Gregorius down at second. Later that inning, he threw out third baseman Chase Headley trying to go first to third on a single.

Offensively, it’s Trumbo’s big right-handed power that draws attention. He has hit at least 20 home runs in each full season of his career, and on Friday hit his fourth home run in five games, his fifth this spring. He’s seeing plenty of pitches to drive in the heart of the Orioles order.

So when Showalter discusses the break-even point where you get enough value for a player to overlook certain flaws, that’s where he’ll be looking. If Trumbo stays healthy and produces at his previous rates, the Orioles’ could have a player who’s well worth $9.15 million this season.

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