The Oakland A’s are interested in free agent Mark Trumbo, for some reason. He’s an odd target for a few reasons, which you can read about by clicking that link, but in this post I want to focus on one particular angle: The A’s already have Trumbo, and his name is Khris Davis.
Start with the big picture. They are right-handed all-or-nothing sluggers, with low OBPs, lots of strikeouts, and no platoon splits for their careers. Neither provides any positive baserunning value. On defense, they both play a below-average corner outfield. They’re within two years of age, with Trumbo the elder, and each is a native of Southern California. Even their stats last season were almost indistinguishable, with each enjoying a career year:
Davis, 2016: .247/.307/.524, 42 HR, 166 Ks, 123 wRC+, 2.7 WAR
Trumbo, 2016: .256/.316/.533, 47 HR, 170 Ks, 123 wRC+, 1.9 WAR
Those WAR numbers are averages between the two scales; Davis had the edge in both versions. Trumbo had 57 more plate appearances.
Furthermore, both players were quite close to their own lifetime AVG and OBP marks, with a bump in slugging due to their career-high dinger totals, so even their overall bodies of work are similar.
Davis, 1,752 PAs: .249/.312/.504, 17.1 PA/HR, 7.4% BB, 25.3% Ks, 121 wRC+
Trumbo, 3,427 PAs: .251/.303/.473, 19.3 PA/HR, 6.7% BB, 25.0% Ks, 111 wRC+
There’s a little more separation when looking at their career totals, in favor of Davis, but the two lines still bear a striking resemblance.
To be fair, I named Davis as the team’s MVP from last year, so being like him isn’t a bad thing. But does that mean the A’s should have two of him? Or is one enough, with the rest of Oakland’s limited resources being focused on improving the team’s defense and OBP? The A’s already have the better, younger, cheaper one anyway.