Neal Huntington and Ben Cherington have a few things in common:
1) They are graduates of Amherst College
2) They are MLB general managers
3) They like trading with each other
In Huntington’s tenure as Bucco GM, he’s made more deals with Cherington and the Red Sox than any other organization. A total of 11 transactions have been made between the two clubs, with 16 players coming to Pittsburgh (thanks to Hidden Vigorish for that info).
With two weeks remaining until Opening Day, the Pirates still have a hole or two, and a surplus of arms could help patch things up via trade.
Huntington on bullpen depth: "Maybe it’s a chance to move a guy that can go help someone else to add a piece."
— Travis Sawchik (@Sawchik_Trib) March 16, 2014
While there isn’t much available on the market, Huntington’s best trade partner has a couple pieces the Bucs could be interested in.
1. Mike Carp
Most of the trade speculation centers around Carp, who doubles as a first baseman and triples as a third baseman. There’s always speculation about Pittsburgh and Milwaukee, teams that might want to upgrade at first base.”
Having shopped around all winter for a first base upgrade, the Pirates don’t seem totally sold on Andrew Lambo. And his slow spring hasn’t been re-assuring, as he’s just 2-for-31 at the plate in 13 Grapefruit League games.
Carp, 27, had a quality year in 2013 (.296/.362/.523), and his ability to play all four corners makes him an intriguing player. He’ll earn $1.4 million in 2014.
This afternoon, we learned that new backup Chris Stewart will likely have surgery to repair what appears to be a torn meniscus.
#Pirates fear Chris Stewart has torn meniscus in right knee. Surgery "probable", pending Dr. Andrews' evaluation on Wednesday.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) March 17, 2014
That could leave him out of action for a few months.
Around the same time as the Stewart news, it was reported that the Red Sox are actively shopping 26-year-old catcher Ryan Lavarnway.
“They’re making it known he’s available,” a veteran National League talent evaluator said of the Red Sox.”
Ranked the 93rd best prospect in baseball prior to 2012, Lavarnway is a career .282/.373/.491 hitting in the minor leagues. Defensively, his “catching skills are still limited”, according to Sox Prospects.
Carp and Lavarnway are two guys who 1) are out of jobs in Boston, 2) are being actively shopped, and 3) could help the Pirates in some capacity. Carp looks to be the greater need, but the Sox could also throw in Lavarnway to help the Bucs’ catching depth with Stewart on the shelf.
I’m not sure what Boston would demand in return, but the Pirates currently have eight relivers for seven spots. Bryan Morris has had a strong spring and former Sox prospect Stolmy Pimentel apparently has some good stuff in his pitch arsenal. I wouldn’t be thrilled with giving up either, but they’re more attractive trade chips to Boston than Vin Mazzaro or Jeanmar Gomez.
Fake deal: Carp and Lavarnway for one of the relievers (maybe throw in a prospect).
14 days until the opener.