First Pitch: Will Pedro Alvarez Have Any Trade Value This Off-Season?

It’s safe to say that Pedro Alvarez’s stock in Pittsburgh is down, at least among Pirates fans. That may even be true for the organization as well. Alvarez has struggled this year at third base, leading to a move across the diamond to first. He has also seen a drop in his power numbers, which led to Josh Harrison and Ike Davis getting playing time over him.

Despite the struggles, could Alvarez have some trade value to other teams this coming off-season?

John Tomase of the Boston Herald recently wrote about how the Boston Red Sox might be looking to “power up” with Alvarez. The Red Sox have a hole at third base, and Tomase mentions that the Red Sox could be interested in him this off-season.

I will add a few disclaimers to the story. First, there’s nothing that says the Red Sox are interested, just that they showed interest in him out of high school, which was a long time ago. Also, there’s nothing that says the Pirates are looking to deal him, although more on that in a bit. As the final disclaimer, I’ll point out that this reads like a typical “trade idea” article out of Boston or New York or any other big market that views the rest of the league as their shopping mall. The article also mentioned Neil Walker and Cleveland Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall as other possibilities, and I’d be surprised if either player was traded just to help the Red Sox fill a need.

Back to Alvarez, and more specifically, back to the idea of whether the Pirates could trade him. This isn’t out of the question. When he went down for the season, I wrote that he might have played his final game with the Pirates. The reason for that is because Alvarez has struggled this year, is due a raise on his $4.25 M salary, the Pirates have seen Josh Harrison play better than him at third base, and Ike Davis has been better and is cheaper at first base. You could keep Alvarez around and hope he rebounds, but that’s an expensive reclamation project, and one you don’t necessarily have to take with Harrison around.

I’m mentioning the Red Sox article because it gives a view of things from the other side. Alvarez is seen as struggling, but not a guy who is out. He’s seen as a guy who is only a year removed from being a big power hitter who can play third base. The suggestion of a swap of third basemen doesn’t make much sense for the Pirates. The Red Sox have the struggling Will Middlebrooks, who might have some value, but would basically be a cheaper version of Alvarez for the Pirates. That only makes sense if the Red Sox kick in more to even out the values, much like the Joel Hanrahan trade that brought back Mark Melancon and three other players.

What does make sense is the idea that Pedro Alvarez would have appeal to a team like the Red Sox. His salary, which could be around $6 M, would mean nothing to them. He wouldn’t be expected to carry the middle of the lineup there, unlike his expected role in Pittsburgh. I don’t know what his trade value would be, and I don’t know what other teams would be interested. But it does seem like he will have some value as a third baseman, despite the down year.

The Pirates don’t necessarily have to trade Alvarez. They could move him to first and trade Davis instead. Alvarez would be a little more expensive, and in his career he’s been a little less productive. But at least it’s not a situation where they’re forced to deal a certain player. And it seems to be a situation where Alvarez will have more value outside of Pittsburgh than he will have in Pittsburgh.

Links and Notes

**Andrew McCutchen hit twice in loss against Brewers

**The Benefits of Tony Sanchez Playing Winter Ball

**Morning Report: A Big Draft Pick With Impressive Numbers

  • can’t move him now, but ike davis future in piitsburgh is over ,he also id due to have a raise . he will be non- tender.

  • In addition to being a 3b, Will Middlebrooks shares one other important attribute with Pedro Alvarez – it was strongly suggested WMB would need 400+ ABs at AAA to “figure it out” as he his K rates were too high. He only got 160 before being brought up in 2012 (Pedro had 148). WMB was a mid-50s level prospect prior to 2012, and #3 in system behind Boegarts & Barnes, so Sox fans had every right to be excited.

    So if there’s hope that Pedro turns it around, there should be equal hope that WMB turns it around. Which is not to say Bucs should trade for him. But the histories are similar although Bucs gave Pedro more time at MLB than Sox did with WMB.

    • The scales in this comparison are way, wayyy off.

      Not only does Alvarez have a far greater ML track record of success, he’s also been far better even in this “down” year. Pedro isn’t great, but Will Middlebrooks is terrible.

  • Bye,bye pedro! It’s time for the albatross to fly away. The pirates are a much more consistent team without you than they ever were with you. The best way pedro can help this team is by bringing back at least one prospect. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  • Over the last two years (2013 & 2014), which even includes an injury off year for Alvarez, he has been a significantly better offensive player than Ike Davis. Over those two years, Alvarez has a 748 OPS, and 156 RBIs (16.3 RBIs per 100 ABs) – Ike has a 692 OPS and 86 RBIs (12.9 RBIs per 100 ABs) over the same period. Importantly, Alvarez was the best hitter on the team in the playoffs last year with a post season OPS of 1148 – Ike has no post season history. First base should be an offensive position, why would we go with a first baseman next year who we now hit seventh in the lineup? The Pirates probably will not be paying Alvarez as much, or not much more than they are paying Davis and Sanchez this year to play first base – so assuming that the last two are not on the team next year, financial considerations are a wash and not significant with respect to that position in 2015.

  • I would keep Pedro over Davis. Despite the errors, Pedro can play either 3B or 1B while Davis doesn’t have the range to play 3B.

    Yes, Harrison is the starting 3B next year, and you hope that this season was not a fluke. But you were probably also hoping that last year for Alvarez wasn’t a fluke either.

    Before he got sat down, Pedro was on pace for 30HR and 100RBI’s with fewer strikeouts than last year and also showing some talent / speed on the bases. I just don’t see that type of production coming from Ike Davis.

    I think if the Pirates decide to trade Pedro they should look for lefty starting pitching – Liriano and Volquez could be gone after this year.

  • There is a log jam at 1st base and something over the winter has to happen, they are not going to pay everyone. If you add up all of these 1st basemen salaries for 2014 it gets to be pretty significant, who has to go IMO depends on what someone will offer for any of the 1st basemen the Pirates have, don’t forget Lambo is also in that mix.

  • The Pirates offense has been great year this year, and guess what? Alvarez has not been part of it. This means they can move forward without him, but this does not mean sell low on him.
    The way I see it Pedro is not going to be part of the Pirates in 2 years anyway, so if they can find a good offer for him this offseason: break the paradigm and reinforce this years offense with a good RH platoon for 1B to go along with Davis. Maybe that can be a trade with the Red Sox for Middlebrooks.

    • Monsoon Harvard
      September 21, 2014 7:43 pm

      Alvarez has had more homers and RBI than Ike Davis all year, and will finish the season with more. Ike Davis has no chance of passing Pedro even though Pedro hasn’t played this month.

      For not being part of the offense, 18 home runs (third on the team) and 56 RBI (fourth on the team) are still more than most of the team.

      “Alvarez has not been part of the offense” is a completely illogical statement, and not even worthy of an argument because it makes no sense.

  • I am not sure why the Pirates would want to trade Pedro Alvarez when his value is so low. Wouldn’t it make more sense to hold on to him to see if he rebuilds some value – e.g. perhaps he works on his defense in the off season and manages to play a passable 3B in spring training, or maybe by limiting his exposure to LH pitchers he could post a solid triple slash line next season. $6 million is not that much relative to current salaries, so if the Bucs cannot carry his salary next year I have to wonder why they are pretending to be a major league team.

    If Pedro is traded and becomes the next Brandon Moss, Jose Bautista, Steve Pearce or Brock Holt, I would think some backlash from the fans would be in order. You could create a solid roster of players whom the Pirates rejected. Let’s keep Pedro and see if he rebuilds value.

  • Pedro > Davis

    • Pedro is larger than Davis? I think Davis is somewhat taller, but Pedro has a larger build… if you are talking about weight you may be correct.

      • At the beginning of the season, would you have traded Alvarez straight up for Ike Davis? I’m guessing the answer is HELL NO. Due to Alvarez’s pedigree and potential, it would be insane not to try to work out his issues in the off-season. Don’t forget that Davis was toiling in the minors in the Mets organization. Pedro is worth trying to salvage.

        • At 1B, they are very nearly the same worth. Ike walks more, Pedro hits for a bit more power. Both have shown 30 HR potential, both have shown they can underperform that mark by a good bit. Career wRC+ similar.

        • I would not have traded Pedro for Ike then, and I would not do so now. I agree Pedro is worth keeping. I would not trade a player with his talent at the low point of his value.

      • Monsoon Harvard
        September 21, 2014 7:36 pm

        > means ‘greater than’, < means 'less than'.
        This is what I was taught in 2nd grade.

  • If the RedSox need a 3bman, why would they want Pedro “Look out in the front row” Alvarez? It makes no sense.

  • I don’t relish NH with regard to this issue. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. If it was my decision to make, unless I was blown away by another team’s offer this winter, I would keep Alvarez. Give him a major pep talk about what a great player he can be at 1B and see if he comes back next year w a new attitude.

    The Pirates offense will be better w him at 1B over Davis. Maybe the numbers don’t support this position, but I refuse to give up on a 30+ HR hitter after just one bad season.

    • I refuse to give up on a 30+ HR hitter after just one bad season.

      Are you talking about Ike Davis or Pedro? 🙂 🙂

    • There just seems to be some mental issue with Pedro. I mean, granted he’s an athlete, but still, he went to Vanderbilt, and that’s not a simple task. Maybe the problem is Pedro is too smart, over thinking things too greatly. He’d probably be putting Ryan Howard in-his-prime numbers if he was an idiot. **Disclaimer, not to say Ryan Howard’s an idiot, I don’t know either way.

  • The Yankees are a solid contender for the services of Pedro Alvarez. He is a hometown boy who can hit for 40 HR’s/year in NY and the other band boxes of the AL East. He can also be a 3B, 1B, or a LH DH when not playing a position. His fielding is a detriment in the NL, and cannot work as a DH – he will be more fully productive in the American League. However, he is at his lowest point since coming to the majors, and his value to another team is a lot less than what it was at the conclusion of 2013. But, still only 27 with Two 30 HR seasons in 2012 and 2013 and a 100 RBI year in 2013. In 2014, for the number of games played, his HR/RBI numbers are probably a little down on a per game or per AB basis, but not much. Ike Davis has done very well as the LH hitter at 1B, especially with the .400 on base percentage and better defense than what Pedro will bring. Not an easy decision either way.

  • That said, I would keep Davis over Pedro.

  • Pedro has been a little less productive than Davis? I don’t see that.

  • would be a fair swap for Ranaudo or Uehara

  • Monsoon Harvard
    September 21, 2014 6:04 am

    Of course not. It would be dumb to trade Pedro over the winter. The Pirates should put him right back out there at first base in 2015 and let him boost his trade value like he never could before as a third baseman.
    Then trade him for some good minor league hitting talent in positions the Pirates need filled.

    • I think they should look for lefty starting pitching in a trade – something the Pirates are lacking in their farm system. The Pirates have bats in the minors (Meadows, Bell). If Liriano is gone after next year, the Pirates will need more than just Jeff Locke.

      • Monsoon Harvard
        September 21, 2014 7:53 pm

        I see that the Pirates have starters in the minors (Taillon, Kingham, Glasgow, Sampson). I’d rather have the added lumber in the minors at positions of need like shortstop and third base. Also, I would be training Josh Bell more so at third base than first.

        • Taillon, Kingham, Samson, and Glasnow are all right handed. If the Pirates are unable to resign Liriano at the end of the season, I could see Alvarez being dealt for a left handed starter (Wade Miley comes to mind). Otherwise, he probably stays with Davis being dealt for whatever the Pirates can get for him.

          Even with the down year, I think the Pirates could get more for Alvarez in a trade (can play 1B, 3B, DH) than they could for Davis.

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