There hasn’t been much buzz regarding the first-base trade market lately, which means the Pittsburgh Pirates will likely roll into the regular season with a platoon of Gaby Sanchez and Andrew Lambo at said position.
As our FanSided brethren Rumbunter covered earlier today, reported Pirates trade target Ike Davis is just now getting ready to return from a lower-leg injury, so any proposed swap with the Mets will likely have to wait.
On Tuesday, Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects reported on the news that the Mariners have declared Justin Smoak to be their Opening Day starter at first base. Williams also said he doubts Boston will trade Mike Carp, although Texas’ Mitch Moreland remains a possible left-handed option if the Pirates would still like to deal.
The trade market stays relevant because of Lambo’s utter lack of production thus far in the Grapefruit League.
Obviously, Lambo’s 32-homer season in the minors last year reminds of his potential, as does his .922 OPS in 2013. He’s 25, so he should still have a couple years of improvement ahead of him, even though seven seasons of pro experience typically indicates a finished product.
But it’s impossible to ignore Lambo’s uninspiring performance this spring. Entering Wednesday’s action, he had collected two hits in 21 at-bats, both singles. Lambo’s triple-slash line of .095/.174/.095 is tempered by the fact that he’s struck out just three times, but the results are still unsightly.
Of course, the Pirates already made a trade for a first baseman this offseason, as they acquired Chris McGuiness from the Rangers in exchange for Miles Mikolas. The 25-year-old McGuiness had four singles, two doubles and two walks in 21 plate appearances entering Wednesday.
McGuiness swings from the left side, so he could feasibly hit opposite Sanchez in the first-base platoon. However, like Lambo, McGuiness has just a handful of MLB games to his credit, making him a similar gamble to bring north.
Putting that aside, if McGuiness is able to maintain his .316/.381/.421 line much longer, the Pirates will have a tough call to make on who to plug next to Sanchez in April.