Finding value in Major League Baseball can be very hard. You have 30 organizations pouring all of their energy and resources into fielding the best teams and getting the most talent that they can. * Sometimes the most efficient way to do this is to prey upon the weaker GMs. Mark Shapiro upgraded the Indians for years thanks in large part to fleecing Omar Minaya out of Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, and Cliff Lee in exchange for a rental of Bartolo Colon. Unfortunately, some teams have profited out of taking advantage of Kenny Williams as well, with the Diamondbacks laughing all the way to the bank with Daniel Hudson and David Holmberg in exchange for a rental of Edwin Jackson. As time goes on, this seems to get harder and harder to do, as the quality of GMs seems to be gradually improving. But I think there are still some suckers left, and I think Jack Z of Seattle is one of them.
To that end, Jack Z has just designated Mike Carp for assignment in order to make room for new acquisition Joe Saunders. They have 10 days to trade him, release him, or outright him to AAA, which would expose him to waiver claims. While it’s hard to know with certainty what Seattle will do, Carp did have this to say: “I won’t get to play for Seattle again and that’s a shame,” Carp told Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times. “I loved it up there in the Northwest. I consider myself fortunate to have played there. Not too many guys can say they have four years in at the big league level already starting at age 22. I still feel I have a lot to offer. I’m just getting started.”
Though the White Sox have a full 40-man roster, if Carp could be freely acquired without giving up talent, it might be worth doing. Carp, for example, is probably better than Lars Anderson in every way. While Carp’s minor league numbers are largely a PCL illusion, he has actually hit well in the majors in short spurts over the past several years, even hitting .276/.326/.466 in 313PAs in 2011. Carp is a competent bench bat – some power, some patience, enough contact skills to be on a major league roster, but certainly not to start – and best of all he hits left-handed!
Mike Carp is not going to be a big difference maker. He was never much of a prospect, and he’s aging into his late 20s at this point. In terms of position he’s limited to 1B, DH, and if you are feeling really ambitious you can shove him in left field and cross your fingers for a few innings. But, there are a number of people on the 40-man roster from which he would be an upgrade, and if you can upgrade your roster cheaply or for free, you should probably do it. If Lars Anderson is on your 40-man roster, and the loss of Lars Anderson is most of the cost of acquiring Mike Carp, then you should acquire Mike Carp. The best general managers usually know when to cut bait with somebody and so if they DFA someone you may be better off trusting that GM’s evaluation. Jack Z is not one of the best general managers. Jack Z is, in fact, pretty terrible, and the chances of him making a mistake and releasing someone with value are non-zero.
*Okay, well, there are exceptions like the Marlins and Mets, but you get the point.