The Mariners and Orioles have swung a trade that will send Mark Trumbo and left-hander C.J. Riefenhauser to Baltimore in exchange for catcher Steve Clevenger, as first reported by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune.
New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has already turned over a good portion of the Mariners roster this off-season and dealing Trumbo away was a target he had set for himself earlier. In return, the Mariners will acquire Steve Clevenger whose primary position is catcher though he has played occasionally at first base as well. Clevenger is going into his age-30 season and his bat performs very well at the AAA level. however, that has yet to translate to any degree of success at the major league level. With the newly-acquired Chris Iannetta likely taking the lion's share of work for the Mariners behind the dish next season, Clevenger will likely begin 2016 in a timeshare behind the plate, as he is out of options and cannot be sent to Triple-A.
The Orioles on the other hand will acquire Trumbo and are thought to be acquiring another player who has not yet been named. Earlier this off-season the Orioles had been linked to re-acquiring Gerardo Parra, trading for Jay Bruce, and, most recently, having interest in Denard Span. While this doesn't necessarily negate Dan Duquette's quest for outfield help, it will certainly ease the process as Trumbo could be their every day right fielder.
The trade comes only hours after Dutton reported that Trumbo could be dealt by Wednesday evening. According to Dutton, Dipoto was actively shopping Trumbo prior to Wednesday's non-tender deadline. If the Mariners retained Trumbo, they would have had to begin the arbitration process by tendering him. Trumbo is projected to earn $9.1 million at arbitration this year.
Since it is Trumbo's last arbitration-eligible year, the Orioles could explore extending their new right fielder beyond the requisite one-year arbitration settlement. Presumably if Duquette liked Trumbo enough to trade for him then he could be thinking of making a more firm commitment. That being said, for only trading away Clevenger, it is absolutely feasible that the Orioles are happy to have just one year of the bought-low Trumbo.