Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

A Mike Carp for Scooter Gennett swap would make sense


It has been reported that both the Pirates and Brewers have shown interest in trading for first basemen/corner outfielder Mike Carp. Carp had a breakout season in Boston last year, hitting for an explosive .296/.362/.523 slash line in his first season in a Red Sox uniform.

Now, a typical team would not fathom the prospect of dealing a guy who hit for a clip like Carp did last year, but the Red Sox or the defending World Series champions, are no typical team. The Red Sox seemingly have excessive depth for all facets of their team, with the exception of infield depth. Anyway, Carp is slated to be behind Gomes, Nava, Victorino, Bradley Jr., and maybe even Grady Sizemore on the outfield depth chart. So room for him to get at bats is slim and with a guy who churned that much production on the offensive side of the ball, it seems unjustifiable to keep that on the bench. But people seem to be stuck on the old adage, “You can never have enough depth.” While I agree with that statement, I also believe in the old saying, “Buy low, sell high.” Oh yes, the adage coined by stock brokers many, many years ago is very applicable to the game of baseball. The next question that you probably would have is; why is this the case for Mike Carp? The answer to that question would be, an unsustainable .385 BABIP (batting average on balls in play).

The left-handed hitter compiled an extraordinarily high BABIP last season — a typical BABIP usually hovers around .300, putting that number into perspective. His BABIP will surely regress in 2014, and along with it, Carp’s production. It seems apparent that Ben Cherington and company would be aware of this, given that they are one of the most sabermetric-based teams in Major League Baseball. They also must recognize how thin they are in infield depth; so why not deal an area of surplus for an area of weakness? It makes sense, and a move that would follow that philosophy would be a Mike Carp and Deven Marrero for Scooter Gennett swap.

The aforementioned Brewers have expressed significant interest in Carp, because of the question marks surrounding who will play first base for them in 2014. In reality, they have been extensively seeking an answer at first ever since Prince Fielder left Milwaukee for Detroit. Mike Carp could be a very good short-term solution for the Brewers. Even though I do not think he will produce the mind-boggling numbers that he did in 2013, I still believe that he will be a very valuable offensive piece if he is given the opportunity to play on a day-to-day basis.

The Brewers have two very viable options to play second base in Scooter Gennett and Rickie Weeks. One of these will have to ride the bench this season or Milwaukee could take the smarter route and exchange the surplus to address a glaring weakness on their roster. Weeks has gotten off to a torrid start in Spring Training and there are reports out there that suggest Rickie Weeks has been an absolute monster with the bat in camp. All very good signs for Weeks and the Brewers, albeit not a good sign for the young Scooter Gennett.

Gennett had a very good season for the Brewers last season, sporting a raw .324/.356/.479 slash but you have to recognize that he was the recipient of a lot of luck, just like Carp. He too had a BABIP that was out of this world at .380 and that won’t carry over. His minor league numbers were not even remotely close to what he produced in 2013.

Here are his statistics in the minors in which a decent sample size can be judged.

2010 (A): 525 PA- .311/.356/.465

2011 (A+): 601 PA- .299/.332/.405

2012 (AA): 573 PA- .293/.330/.385

2013 (AAA): 349 PA- .280/.327/.371

In this proposal the Red Sox also give up Deven Marrero as a deal sweetener. The once highly touted prospect, has not hit a lick in professional baseball, but it is nice compensation for Gennett in the future infield depth department. The Red Sox are not clear-cut winners in this proposed deal and neither are the Brewers, but they are addressing needs on their roster and that is why this deal makes a lot of sense for both sides.

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Mike Carp

  • Conor Duffy

    Why would the Red Sox need Gennett? They have no need for a starting second baseman and Gennett hasn’t gotten experience at any of the other infield positions.

    • Patrick Green

      Gennett, like most infielders, has the capability of playing almost every infield position — though not well. This gives the Red Sox a quality safety net for Middlebrooks and my point was that Gennett is a good backup for WMB. He is not a starting second basemen, but has a quality bat. The Red Sox have been shopping Carp and among the two teams interested (Brewers and Pirates) this move makes the most sense. Brewers have two second basemen and Weeks cost too much to be moved. I look at this move as an alternative if they do not go after Drew.

      • Dan

        “…has the capability of playing almost every infield position — though not well. This gives the Red Sox a quality safety net for Middlebrooks…”

        That seems like a contradiction to me. Why would you put a shoddy 2B who’s never played 3B before in for a 3B with a better bat? Why do the Sox need a shoddy 2B at all, when we have Pedroia now, and Betts and Cecchini in the minors? Carp is a better glove and bat than Gennett, this trade would make no sense. We don’t need to take on the Brewers back up. We could potentially sell Carp high, but this is a no go.

        • Patrick Green

          Clearly, this is my fault for not conveying my urgent need for a quality replacement for Will Middlebrooks. I have in the past expressed my distaste for both Middlebrooks and Herrera but at this point I thought it would sound redundant, so I left my Middlebrooks/Herrera “bashing” out for this article. I do not see Gennett ever as a starter in a Red Sox uniform but I could see him as a quality utility man. His advanced defensive metrics are not to shabby, collecting 2 DRS and a 0.3 UZR. People underrate his glove. The Red Sox do not win this trade and that was not the purpose either. They have a need and a surplus and they unload their surplus for an area of weakness.

  • Kennythelid

    We’ve already got a prospect that we’re struggling to find a position for that’s probably going to be better than Gennett. Mookie Betts is faster, better with the glove and just as good with the bat by all accounts.

    • Patrick Green

      I am not saying that Gennett will or ever should be a starter in the big leagues, but I believe he can be a quality backup/spot starter for the Red Sox. Betts is a couple years away and I seriously doubt that Betts will be a backup. He is too good and has experience at SS in High School.

      • Kennythelid

        I think having the depth we have at a position (1st base) where we have no prospects (although I look for T. Shaw to have a better season this year) is something I would like to keep on the roster. If I would trade anyone it would be Lavarnway, I like Holt and Herrera for 2nd base depth. Pedey’s due to have at least a couple healthy years and you pretty much have to hold a gun to his head for him to take a day off.

  • Paper Scratcher

    Sorry, it makes zero sense.

  • John Finn Jr

    Well, if you look closely, you will find that Gennett’s stats have got worse every year in all the list categories mentioned above for the past 4 years. We would be trading good for bad. Not smart with stock brokers or anybody else. That’s like trading Apple computer stock for Joe’s Bar and Grill stock.

    • John Finn Jr

      I will also say that between secondbase, thirdbase and shortstop, the easiest to play is second base. That’s where they put thirdbasemen and shortstops when their arms goes bad. The hardest is shortstop. You need a strong arm to throw from the hole all the way over to firstbase.

  • Willy

    Normally I agree with what your saying BUT not in this case. Gennett has only ever played 2nd with a little bit of SS. The Sox already have a utility guy (they wanted) in Herrerra.
    As for Marrero, why sell low on a prospect that is projected to be a decent player? Like you said, sell high, buy low, well we cant sell Devin now. I believe he will turn a corner this year, we just need to stay patient for a little while longer.
    As for Milwaukee, I keep reading things about them wanting to add to 1st base but when you look at their lineup they dont appear to really need it. The team that makes the Most sense, as far as wanting, needing Carp is Pittsburgh. The problem is Carp may be more valuable to us then what we may be able to fetch in return. IE, Pitt may like him but only offer a mid-level prospect in return, that just wont cut it. We’ll see what happens but with Carp potentially learning 3rd base this Spring, I think it’s more likely the Sox hang onto him. There is also a Cluster *^&$(# in the Outfield right now that I have no idea how their gonna solve it. Gomes, Nava, Vic., JBjr, Sizemore, then you add in Brentz who has been great this Spring but will most likely be screwed out of a spot he’s earned & it’s a complete mess. I am not opposed to trading Gomes, Nava or Sizemore, in fact I encourage Ben to move at least 1 of them.

    • Patrick Green

      You and I both have serious doubts about Will Middlebrooks and that is the underlying point I was trying to convey here. Herrera is a good utility man — I agree with that, but if Middlebrooks struggles (Which there is a big chance) than having Herrera’s bat penciled into the lineup would be detrimental. I know you have suggested Headley and Drew as the answer and so have I, but right now I am looking for cheaper alternatives for the problem. The Brewers have interest and I am not willing to take on Weeks or Ramirez’s overpaid contracts to supersede Middlebrooks. I also do not believe the Pirates will deal Walker or Alvarez, so this seems like the most logical solution. I doubt that the Red Sox will not start with Middlebrooks at third — even though they should. I think they give him his last chance this year and if and when he does not pan out, then the Red Sox are stuck plugging Herrera and his career 69 OPS+ at third.

      • Willy

        I hear ya but I think there are options out there. If not Drew or Headley there is always Aramis Ramirez (if the Brewers are serious about wanting Carp) or they could try again for Pablo Sandoval but sweeten the offer making it harder for SF to refuse. Most of these guys will be F.A.’s after this season (Ramirez has a mutual option for following year), so at least 1 of these teams should be willing to deal by at least the trade deadline (watch out for the Yankees going after 1 of these guys). Oakland is the most remote to trade with but they have Callaspo who will be a F.A. after this year, like the other guys.
        So in a nut shell… if Will isnt the answer in the first part of the season, then there will be players to trade for at the deadline. *Of course if Ben had done what I wanted (re-signing Drew) then we wouldnt have an issue at all. Not sure why Ben never addressed the depth issue on the left side of the infield

  • Crusader10

    So, they have no place to play Carp and they should trade him AND Marrero for a second baseman who will play when?

    • Patrick Green

      He wouldn’t — unless Middlebrooks struggles and then he would play either SS or 3B and Bogey can move to 3B if need be.

      • Crusader10

        For one, I think Middlebrooks will bounce back. For another, they have Ceccini in case he doesn’t. Also, they have Mookie Betts in the system.

        • Patrick Green

          I have serious doubts about Middlebrooks with his plate discipline and defensive skills. If he struggles, which could happen, then I think we need somebody to play 3B that is not Herrera and his career 69 OPS+. I do not think Cecchini will be ready after the first couple of months and WMB has a short leash, so I feel like they need a good one, two year bridge in the case that WMB does struggle. I am a fan of Betts toobut his ETA is mid-2015 at the earliest and I believe he will be a starter anyway.

          • Crusader10

            You could very well be right about Cecchini and Betts is a year away at least. I don’t see Pedroia going anywhere, though, and I am leery about giving up on Marrero yet. I think I would hold off on this deal, though if Sizemore can make anything out of his comeback, Carp would be excess. Basically it’s a question of which player without a position do you want?

          • Patrick Green

            I agree with you and I probably should have conveyed that in my article so I could be more clear. I have mentioned my warranted concerns for Middlebrooks and Herrera in numerous previous articles and I thought it would be redundant at this point.

          • Crusader10

            I see you are a high school sophomore. I have to say you are doing pretty well. Keep it up. BTW, have you seen Bill James’ take on why he expects Middlebrooks to make a comeback? (http://nesn.com/2014/02/bill-james-will-middlebrooks-primed-for-monster-season-with-red-sox/) It is worth reading. (If the link doesn’t work, just google Bill James and Middlebrooks.)

          • Patrick Green

            Thanks for the kind words. I have seen the projections before and he could very much hit for an .800 OPS. He has the power tools to do so. My concern is more with his lack of range and defensive value.

          • Crusader10

            You are welcome. There are very few who do both offense and defense well. it would be great to have a Mike Schmidt, but how many of those have there been? I do see some problems if the range is lost also at SS, but the Yankees got by with Jeter there so it can be done. You just have to hope that the offense outdoes the loss of defense.

  • John Finn Jr

    I have faith that everybody in the infield will do just fine. Boston fans are the ones who said “Ger rid of Pedroia !” after 2 month…the year he was the Rookie of the Year. By the end of the year they were saying “He’s my favorite !” and they also said “Get rid of Big Papi !” when he also had a bad start to a season…then he went on to hit more homeruns than any other major leaguer after the all star break. Now they yell “Extend his contract !” I expect that by the end of the season, people will be saying “I knew Middlebrooks was going to do well all the time”, If only people who write articles would look at the statistics and not the gossip. Middlebrooks is a good player and in about 1 season (2 half seasons put together) he has hit about 30 homeruns. Not bad at all. He also fields thirdbase better than Bogaerts and Cechhini too.

    We do not need a secondbaseman with Ironman Pedroia on the job. betts can cover Pedey if he does down.We do not need a thirdbaseman with Middlebrooks, Cechhini and Bogaerts all capable of playing 3B. If Bogaerts goes down then we will need a shortstop, but it can’t be a no name bench player like Gennet, whose stats get worse every year. Herreira is to the infield what Bob Montgomery was to Carlton Fisk: a guy who rarely plays, but gets the job done. They do not need Gennet. They might get rid of Carp anyway to free the space on the 25 man active roster, but trading Carp to put a worse player on the roster makes no sense. If they get rid of Carp it will be a deal where they can make a profit as Carp proved he can be a starter last year and that he is worth something.

    By the way, they already anounced that Herreira made the 25 man active roster.