Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
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.