Mike Carp trade rumors: Brewers, Pirates scouting Carp

Ronald Martinez

Carp could have a bigger role with another team, and two of those are checking him out this spring.

Mike Carp is just a bench bat on the Red Sox, but there are teams he could be much more for. The Brewers and Pirates are two such clubs, as they are in need of help at first base, so it's not surprising to see the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo report that both organizations will be scouting Carp during spring training.

The Pirates currently employ Gaby Sanchez as their primary first baseman, with Andrew Lambo on the bench as a corner outfielder and first base option as well. Sanchez and Carp would combine to play a quality first if they platooned, as Sanchez has a career .300/.399/.496 line against lefties in 200 games and 566 plate appearances, and Carp is a lefty who showed serious power against right-handers in 2013 while being hidden from southpaws. Carp is unlikely to replicate his .385 batting average on balls in play from last year, but limiting him to right-handers likely helped play that up, as it gave him more opportunities he could succeed in -- you can stack the deck to try to inflate that number, basically, and the Sox did so.

As for the Brewers, they've collected a few options for first, with Juan Francisco currently slated for the position, but Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay were both invited to camp to try to wrest the job from him. Overbay is a platoon bat at this stage of his career, one who posted an 87 OPS+ with the Yankees in 2013, while Reynolds has seen his production tail off in his late-20s. There's still time for him to turn things around, but he's also put up just a 105 OPS+ over the last four years: it's not awful, but good first basemen hit much better than that. Francisco is no better, with a career 95 OPS+ and a 93 showing a year ago.

Both clubs could use Carp, but no one is quite sure what the Red Sox would want for him. He's just a bench bat in Boston, but he is also depth in both left field and at first, and even if you don't believe he's going to hit for the lofty average of 2013 again, his power is a real -- and rare -- thing. Unless the Sox are overwhelmed with an offer, or somehow have no room for Carp come Opening Day, they're unlikely to move him. The Pirates or Brewers could get plenty desperate in the next month, though, as both have legitimate playoff aspirations, but still need a little help to improve their chances of realizing them.

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