Jun 26, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Chris Carter (23) rounds first base after hitting a home run in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Houston beat Texas 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Pirates Trade Rumors: First Base Position Still Very Thin

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The Pittsburgh Pirates could use an upgrade at the first base position.  It’s a position the Pirates have tried to improve since Neal Huntington came aboard as General Manager.  The run and power production from the position isn’t happening and the Pirates fan base is noticing.   We doubt that the Pirates acquire a first baseman at the deadline, but it’s one of the most popular questions we receive.

Something we do on a regular basis is type the words trade rumors first base into a Google search.  So it didn’t take us long to put together some first basemen that might be available at the trade deadline.

Jul 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; A Coors Field camera operator holds a cutout of Colorado Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau (33) in the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The most familiar name is Justin Morneau of the Colorado Rockies.  Morneau did little as a Pittsburgh Pirate down the stretch and in the brief Bucs appearance in the postseason last year.  Since signing with the Rockies, all of that has changed.  The Rox first baseman is now an All-Star with a solid OPS the likes of which he hasn’t had since suffering a concussion in 2010. The contract isn’t out of whack, but if the Pirates didn’t want to spend it this offseason it seems unlikely they would want to do it now.  Should the Bucs land him, they would be on the hook for what remains on his $5 million dollar deal this season along with $6.75 million in 2015 and a $9 milion dollar mutual buyout ($750,0000 buyout) in 2016.

Jul 5, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig (21) hits a two run home run off of Miami Marlins starting pitcher Andrew Heaney (not pictured) during the fourth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals are pursuing David Price.  That sentence sends a chill down my spine.   So one could perhaps consider that it might be an option that they could include Allen Craig in a mega deal.  But Craig has had an awful season while my hometown boy Matt Adams hits the piss out of the ball.    Sounds like Craig might be interesting to the Tampa Bay Rays–they like to buy low on talented players.

Jul 12, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays first baseman James Loney (21) singles during the second inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As we said, the Rays could be selling and James Loney might be an option to move out of Tampa.  The challenge for the Pirates is the platoon of Ike Davis and Gaby Sanchez is producing at about the equivalent to Loney who signed a three-year deal for $21 million.  The Pirates didn’t like the amount of years Loney wanted, so when everything shakes out picking up Loney seems unlikely, especially considering what Loney is doing at the plate.

Jun 3, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins first baseman Garrett Jones (46) celebrates in the dugout after scoring a run during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Marlins Ballpark. The Marlins won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 3, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins first baseman Garrett Jones (46) celebrates in the dugout after scoring a run during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Marlins Ballpark. The Marlins won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Garrett Jones has hit well against right handers, but has done very little against left handers.  Not much new here.

Jul 21, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (6) hits a two RBI single during the fourth inning of a game against the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies is the ultimate buy low candidate.  The bad part of the buy low theory is that it’s his production that has fallen while his contract guarantees $60 million dollars after the year–the highest paid guy in the league is not somebody the Pirates are interested in adding to the roster.   The Phillies are in full sell mode right now and it’s freaking glorious to see.

Caption for us please

Caption for us please

Carlos Pena is now playing with the Texas Rangers.  Injuries to both Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland got Pena back into the bigs, well for now at least.  The slugger is hitting well below the Mendoza line at the time of this post.

Jun 26, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Chris Carter (23) watches a home run he hit in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Houston beat Texas 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the most intriguing of the first baseman available would be the Houston Astros Chris Carter.  The 27-year old strikes out a lot.  I mean a lot.  The right-handed slugger has 440 strikeouts in 1285 career plate appearances.  This season the White Sox 15th rounder back in 2006, has hit 19 bombs.    Another thing is that Carter has been the DH in the lineup 69 times while playing just 11 games at first base.  But in the past, first base has been the position of choice for Carter, who also has played some outfield.

I don’t care what you say, 19 bombs is a big number.  He is hitting .205 with an OPS of .745.  The splits are strange which is something you might not expect including eight homers against left handers.  [click to embiggen]

Chris Carter splits.

Chris Carter splits.

So just like in seasons past, the first base trade market is thin unless the Bucs get real creative.

For all the Pirates trade rumors click that link and stay tuned to RumBunter, we got our finger on the pulse–at least today.  Thanks for stopping by and checking it out.

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