A few fans have mentioned the possibility of trading for Mark Trumbo this offseason. This isn't the first time Pirates fans have discussed Trumbo, and when he came up in the 2011-12 offseason, I wasn't a fan of the idea of dealing for him.
I'm still not sure I love the idea, but it's more interesting now than it was then. In late 2011, the Pirates were really still in rebuilding mode, and their current core was still a bit green. Then, Trumbo was a flawed young-ish slugger whose power wasn't a great fit for PNC Park.
That description still fits him, but now the Pirates have an obvious short-term reason to take him on -- they're trying to contend, and the free-agent market is bad. Trumbo still isn't a great long-term bet. I would bet strongly against him being a good player in five years, and he might even be a problem in three years, by which point the arbitration process will have made him expensive. But he fits a short-term need, and that's a good enough reason to acquire someone right now.
Also, Trumbo appears to have made some adjustments that probably amount to a net positive. His strikeout issues, already a concern in 2011, are even worse now, ballooning from 20.9% to 27.1%. But he's also nearly doubled his walk rate, from 4.4% to 8.0%, and that improvement should help sustain him even when he bats .234, as he did last season.
Trumbo hit .234/.294/.453 last year with 184 strikeouts and 54 walks. Pedro Alvarez hit .233/.296/.473, with 186 strikeouts and 48 walks. Alvarez is a better fastball hitter, and Trumbo is better against breaking stuff, but they're awfully similar. It might be a little maddening to have them in the same lineup, in that double-digit strikeout performances by opposing pitchers would be even more common than they are now. But Alvarez and Trumbo would provide tons of power, at least for a couple years.
The Angels would likely seek young starting pitching in return for Trumbo. The Pirates have plenty of that. I wouldn't trade a top prospect for Trumbo, but if I were in the Pirates' position, I wouldn't mind having him.