It’s safe to say that Pedro Alvarez’s stock in Pittsburgh is down, at least among Pirates fans. That may even be true for the organization as well. Alvarez has struggled this year at third base, leading to a move across the diamond to first. He has also seen a drop in his power numbers, which led to Josh Harrison and Ike Davis getting playing time over him.
Despite the struggles, could Alvarez have some trade value to other teams this coming off-season?
John Tomase of the Boston Herald recently wrote about how the Boston Red Sox might be looking to “power up” with Alvarez. The Red Sox have a hole at third base, and Tomase mentions that the Red Sox could be interested in him this off-season.
I will add a few disclaimers to the story. First, there’s nothing that says the Red Sox are interested, just that they showed interest in him out of high school, which was a long time ago. Also, there’s nothing that says the Pirates are looking to deal him, although more on that in a bit. As the final disclaimer, I’ll point out that this reads like a typical “trade idea” article out of Boston or New York or any other big market that views the rest of the league as their shopping mall. The article also mentioned Neil Walker and Cleveland Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall as other possibilities, and I’d be surprised if either player was traded just to help the Red Sox fill a need.
Back to Alvarez, and more specifically, back to the idea of whether the Pirates could trade him. This isn’t out of the question. When he went down for the season, I wrote that he might have played his final game with the Pirates. The reason for that is because Alvarez has struggled this year, is due a raise on his $4.25 M salary, the Pirates have seen Josh Harrison play better than him at third base, and Ike Davis has been better and is cheaper at first base. You could keep Alvarez around and hope he rebounds, but that’s an expensive reclamation project, and one you don’t necessarily have to take with Harrison around.
I’m mentioning the Red Sox article because it gives a view of things from the other side. Alvarez is seen as struggling, but not a guy who is out. He’s seen as a guy who is only a year removed from being a big power hitter who can play third base. The suggestion of a swap of third basemen doesn’t make much sense for the Pirates. The Red Sox have the struggling Will Middlebrooks, who might have some value, but would basically be a cheaper version of Alvarez for the Pirates. That only makes sense if the Red Sox kick in more to even out the values, much like the Joel Hanrahan trade that brought back Mark Melancon and three other players.
What does make sense is the idea that Pedro Alvarez would have appeal to a team like the Red Sox. His salary, which could be around $6 M, would mean nothing to them. He wouldn’t be expected to carry the middle of the lineup there, unlike his expected role in Pittsburgh. I don’t know what his trade value would be, and I don’t know what other teams would be interested. But it does seem like he will have some value as a third baseman, despite the down year.
The Pirates don’t necessarily have to trade Alvarez. They could move him to first and trade Davis instead. Alvarez would be a little more expensive, and in his career he’s been a little less productive. But at least it’s not a situation where they’re forced to deal a certain player. And it seems to be a situation where Alvarez will have more value outside of Pittsburgh than he will have in Pittsburgh.
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