How Grady Sizemore Could Impact the First Base Market

All off-season I’ve been seeing Mike Carp’s name thrown around on fan wish lists for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first base position. The only problem with this is that Carp has never really been mentioned as a guy who is available. The Pirates were mentioned as a team that was scouting him a week ago, but it hasn’t seemed like the Red Sox were really shopping him.

Carp makes $1.4 M, which is affordable for Boston as a bench bat. They’re an AL team, so they can afford to carry a first baseman on the bench due to the DH and the lack of pitching changes they need to make in the later innings. And the type of trade return that Carp would demand — probably a mid-level prospect — isn’t really that valuable to a team like the Red Sox. That seemingly leaves two options. The Red Sox could keep Carp, and get more value than they would from a Grade B/C lower level pitching prospect. Or they could trade him if a team is willing to pay a high price for him.

It’s possible that Grady Sizemore could change all of this. Sizemore is looking healthy in Red Sox camp, and could be a candidate to make the roster on the bench. Buster Olney tied his health to the possibility that Carp could be dealt to another team.

The Pirates are one of two teams who really need a first baseman. The Milwaukee Brewers are the other team mentioned as looking at Carp. Currently they’ve got a platoon of Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds at first base. Meanwhile, the Pirates have Andrew Lambo as their platoon option against right-handers.

Carp had a big season last year, with a .296/.362/.523 line in 243 plate appearances. However, he will probably see some regression, due to his .385 BABIP. His career BABIP is .333. He’s probably closer to a .250-.275 hitter than a guy around .300. I do think his power is legit, although probably not as strong as the 2013 season when he had a .227 ISO. He’s probably going to be closer to his career .177 ISO. I think the expectations should be closer to his career numbers, which shows a .267/.337/.444 line in 851 plate appearances.

There is still some value here, but if you’re giving up a big return for Carp, then you’re probably paying for his 2013 numbers. Paying for his career numbers is the smarter approach. Unless the Red Sox go with Sizemore on the bench — making it harder to keep a spot for Carp — I don’t see them accepting less than a big return.

  • MAke it happen, NH. Carp is a huge upgrade over Lambo. I don’t put a lot of stock into numbers in winter ball or Spring Training, but Lambo was terrible in winter ball and currently is hitting .087 in ST. This combined with the fact he spent 4 years at AA, and had 3 straigth bad seasons in the minors in 2009-2011 and needless to say I have zero faith in him. I’d be shocked if Lambo could muster a .680 OPS.

  • I would love to see the Bucs add Carp. I’m not sold on Lambo, although I haven’t given up on him. I have always liked Carp and think he would help a lot. Everyone is forgetting we have too many relief pitchers without options. Someone has to go unless there is an injury. Why not a reliever like Morris or Mazzero and a B-C pitching prospect for Carp?

  • Tim: I agree with your evaluation of Carp, especially the part that we will be paying for his best year. I do not see the Pirates breaking camp with either Lambo or McG as our LH hitting 1B. I go with Gaby and hope he will return to his 2010 and 2011 full time numbers where he had 35+ doubles and 19 HR’s both years. AL needs a little time to get that confidence back that got him 30+ HR’s last year. If it was easy, everybody could do it. I am still hoping that we can get Matt Skole, 1B/3B from the Nationals – he is having a VG ST.

  • Snider may be another option but I would like Lambo to have an chance to prove himself.

    • I would have had Snider playing 1B since day one of ST. He’s better than Lambo offensively, IMO.

  • I think the ideal trade for the Pirates would be 1B Chris McGuinness & RHP Adrian Sampson for Carp. McGuinness could fill the Carp need of a LH/1B with 2 option years left for roster flexibility, while Sampson could add starting pitching depth at the High A level. The Sox are stocked with 3 AAA Pitchers in MLB’s 100, so major league ready arms are not necessary.

    • I’m not sure the Red Sox would trade a useful MLB piece for a Quad-A guy and a guy with a 5.00+ ERA in A-Ball. Maybe if NH was holding Cherington’s mother as a hostage.

  • TonyPenaforHOF
    March 12, 2014 11:22 am

    While I love the Carp possibility it’s time to pick up Brett Wallace. He was cut today from Houston. Last year the left handed hitting Wallace he hit .243 with 12 home runs against right handed pitching, which line up with his career stats.

    • you dont think andrew lambo could hit .243 with 12 home runs in a pure platoon? theres no reason to pick up wallace

      • TonyPenaforHOF
        March 12, 2014 12:51 pm

        I don’t know if Lambo can, but I know Wallace can. Having both players is better than just taking a flyer on Lambo

      • We that remember Steve Pearce, Brad Eldred, and Brandon Wood know that nice minor league stats mean nothing. Lambo hasn’t shown the ability to be trusted to hit major league pitching.

      • No, I do not.

    • Wallace hit the 12 HR’s in 73 games. His BP was .307 and SLG was .481 for an OPS of .787. For his career, AVG/OPS/OBP/OPS against righties is .249/.324/.413/.737. In AAA, he has a career OPS of .875. He was the 13th overall pick of the 2008 draft.

      • TonyPenaforHOF
        March 12, 2014 1:06 pm

        He fits our needs for the short term if Lambo fails. Since he won’t cost a draft pick or a prospect why wouldn’t we go after him?

        • I think the stats backup the pro-Wallace argument. I was pointing out that his splits against righties look ok (and home runs were over less than 1/2 a season).There’s a chance that Wallace could be a late bloomer (Brandon Moss or Jose Bautista). He should at least put up Garret Jones type #’s.

  • While last year was different, historically Carp hits lefties better. I see this as a good opportunity to give Lambo concentrated ABs and see what we really have there.

  • Tim. I think Boston would be more then willing to accept a high upside player maybe a Barnes and a hard throwing reliever. Its possible we could offer two C prospects. Right now I would be really uncomfortable going with Lambo or any of our internal LH options. Additionally Carp is cheap at 1.4 million, I don’t think we would have to give up a top ten player but we would need to give up something. The good news is the Brewers really don’t have the depth we have in the minors. I doubt Boston would be interested in much of what they have. As I see every trade should help both teams. The Pirates can help strengthen the minors for Sox and we can get a front line inexpensive 1B in return.