BALTIMORE -- It started last spring, the level of comfort -- and, ultimately, success -- that kept Mark Trumbo hopeful all winter that the free-agent road would lead back to Baltimore. And that's exactly what happened as the two sides, who agreed on a three-year deal last week, formally unveiled Trumbo in a news conference on Friday afternoon.
"This is what I was hoping for," Trumbo said of rejoining a team he was traded to just over a year ago. "A lot of [Orioles teammates] were telling me to get a move on and get a deal done already, and I said, 'Hey, I'm trying, man.' It's not quite as easy as that. In the end, this is perfect."
Trumbo, the reigning Major League homer champ with 47, will continue to get a chance to hit balls out of the park at Camden Yards. For nearly $37 million, the O's got their man and their price, waiting out the market and getting the slugger for a deal that fits into the payroll.
"If you remember, [Rick] Porcello had a confrontation with Manny [Machado] where he threw the ball inside, and he said, 'Manny, why would I try and hit you with [Trumbo] on deck?'… He was concerned who came behind Manny and it affected how he approached Manny in the lineup," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said.
"When you have a couple of power hitters in the lineup, it makes the whole lineup better. Of course, we love pitching, defense and three-run homers, so we're glad that Mark's back from that perspective, and the club has the home run champ for the past four years, which our fans like. It helps score runs and makes for an entertaining product, and beyond that, Mark's personal qualities are a real fit to the ballclub. He's a good player, he fits in with the team, he's a good teammate. He's got a lot of good qualities which I think the Orioles recognize, and we always did recognize. It's just that we wanted to get the deal that was right for the club in our market, and eventually we got that."
Trumbo's news conference, attended by teammate Chris Davis, marked the second consecutive season the O's have added a power bat. Davis signed a record deal last winter and the two should again provide a big 1-2 punch in the middle of the order.
"I was always hopeful [of returning]," said Trumbo, who had a career-high 157 hits, 75 extra-base hits, 108 RBIs, .533 slugging percentage and .850 OPS last season. "The [free-agent] process is pretty unique if you've talked to people who've been through it before. There can be a lot of highs and lows. A lot of information that gets reported is not always terribly accurate, which can be a little bit challenging from everyone's perspective, because there's only a select few people that actually know what's going on and are working hard to get a deal done. In this case, we had a great relationship with Dan, an open line of communication. Ultimately, we came to an agreement that works well for both sides."
Trumbo, who declined his $17.2 million qualifying offer earlier this winter, mentioned the comfort in having a longer deal, which also includes a limited no-trade provision.
"Mark was always clear about his desire to re-sign with the Orioles. I think that really helped with us getting the deal done," Duquette said. "He made it clear at the start of the process that this is where he would like to play, and during the process he also reiterated that he wanted to come back to Baltimore, that he had a good year and this was a place where he wanted to call home. That's really why we got the deal."
Duquette has been able to swing some really good contracts late in the offseason the past few years, and Trumbo looks to be another one, as the market for power hitters was slow to develop.
"You kind of go into it thinking you might have a ton of suitors. You lead the league in home runs -- who's not interested in that?" Trumbo said. "And then you realize that there aren't that many vacancies at times for what you do, especially this year. The whole time, I really wanted to be back here. That was always the mindset I had personally. ... In the end, I'm thrilled to be back where I am."