Feb 26, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates hitting coach Jeff Branson (2) talks with right fielder Andrew Lambo (57) works out prior to the game at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates: Time For Concern About Andrew Lambo?

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.

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Tags: Andrew Lambo Chris McGuiness Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training

  • scott stevens

    Who cares? Hey we have a team to watch this summer, doesn’t matter if we are any better, love a hot dog and fireworks, fine with me. The Buc’s are a small market team and strapped for cash, so I’m really glad Nutting didn’t spend any of that extra cash to upgrade our team, we have baseball in the Burgh!

    • Matt Gajtka

      Can’t tell if serious…

  • JBubs

    Matt, I think 21 at bats is way too small a sample size by which to judge any player. As they say, “Time will tell.”

    • Matt Gajtka

      I’m totally with you on that…could argue it takes 600-plus ABs to see what you might have. I’m just saying Lambo shouldn’t be handed the job if he doesn’t get into a rhythm early.

      • JBubs

        Which leads me to the next question: What are Lambo’s defensive numbers at first base this spring, and is the trend positive or negative overall?

        • Matt Gajtka

          I can’t seem to find any spring training defensive numbers. Anyway, tough to tell from just errors and chances…need the more advanced metrics to have a good idea, and we won’t see those until the regular season.

          • Tj Streib

            Lambo had an errorless spring – unfortunately, also a homerless spring… or an extra-base hit of any kind. He’ll be back once he finds his stroke at Indy