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Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Player A - 33 years old, hasn't slugged over .400 since 2005 or had a double digit homer season since 2004.

Player B - 25 years old, slugged .504 last year in Triple-A and has a career .519 SLG in the minor leagues.

Apparently, the Red Sox prefer option A, Sean Casey. Player B is Chris Carter.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

That is extra weird considering Epstein is the GM.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

It would be more odd if Casey's deal were guaranteed which it isn't. Competition is good in spring training, especially when one of the players involved is a rookie. After all, of those numbers you've recited Keith, only player A's are major league numbers. Player B still has to prove he can do it at the big league level.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

The only thing that Player A's numbers prove is that he sucks.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

No Tony, it just proves he can't hit for power anymore. His .296 BA and .353 OBP last year (.301/.366 career) show he can still get on base which could be valuable from a backup first baseman (as could be his veteran presence).

And another thought is that perhaps the Sox don't really want Carter playing only 1-2 times a week. Maybe (likely) they'd rather see him playing every day and improving his game rather than stagnating which he'd be likely to do sitting on the Red Sox bench.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

You know what you have to like about Sean Casey at this point? He doesn't strikeout a lot, and in the last two years he hasn't produced a ton of DPs though he had more than enough 2005 to make up for it.

I think, for some odd reason, Casey has absolutely struggled in the AL, and should retreat for the NL as soon as possible. Of course, in Boston he could easily hit .326 and have people talking about how he has refound his stroke in the twilight of his career, a la Mike Lowell.

I think the Sox are wasting Chris Carter, however, if they use him as Rich has suggested. His minor league numbers reflect a truly talented and mature hitter, and he should be in the majors full time figuring out if he has major league ability or not (5'10" 210 is not a typical modern day major league caliber first base frame).

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

I agree that Carter looks ready for the majors but what he should not be doing is playing only a couple times a week. He should be starting everyday but he certainly wouldn't be doing that in the majors with Boston what with Lowell, Youkilis and Ortiz blocking his path at the corner infield and DH spots(without Lowell the Sox could move Youkilis to third to open a spot for him).

Using Carter in a backup role would likely be detrimental to his development. But using Casey in that role you're either going to get a guy who has the veteran experience to cope with the limited playing time and makes the most of it or maybe you get a guy who can't cut it as a backup (a la J.T. Snow) but who is a guy whose future isn't going to be set back by it.

How much would Carter benefit from 150-200 sporadic at bats a year?

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

No, Rich - what I meant was he is being wasted sitting in Triple-A period, but I also agree that he shouldn't be getting Hee Seop Choi-ed either.

The Red Sox are clearly too packed with talent for Carter to be a starting first baseman/DH. I would like to see him on a different team, and be a full time starter from day one.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

An OPS+ of 110 for a first basemen is terrible. I'm sorry.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

I don't know what more Carter can gain from dominating Triple-A. I'd rather see him get 200 major league at bats that 500 at Pawtucket.

The real problem is that the Red Sox will have Ortiz, Lowell, and Youkilis through 2010. Also, that Carter is barely good enough defensively to play first base.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

I really doubt he'd benefit from sporadic playing time. He needs to play full-time at his age. He might not benefit much from playing FT in AAA but he'd benefit more than playing PT in the majors.

I agree with Asher though that a trade would be best and think the best solution is for the Sox to trade him to the Giants who need talented young players, and in particular a first baseman.

Ain't gonna happen but I'd like to see it.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Sean Casey career OPS+ 110
Kevin Youkilis career OPS+ 109

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Youkilis has played two full seasons...

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

And Casey will be merely a backup but his career 110 OPS+ would still have ranked better than the primary first baseman for 11 teams last year (not including Scott Thorman in Atlanta).

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Batting runs over the past two years:

Youkilis: 26.1
Casey: -0.8

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Keith, I see your point, but don't interject into the argument.

Tony said first basemen with 110 OPS+ suck, and Rich cleverly pointed out that Youkilis' OPS+ is not even that high.

Obviously you take Youkilis over Casey next year, but Rich's point is the correct one - Tony wants to set a standard, but by the standard that Tony wants to set, there are really very few first basemen in the league that don't "suck".

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Exactly. And Keith, I'm not suggesting Casey is in Youkilis' league anymore but I just found it ironic that Tony would slam Casey's OPS+ when it's higher than Youkilis'.

Of course Youkilis last year was at 117 when Casey was only at 96, hence the reason Casey backs up Youk.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

The past two years:
Casey- 87, 94
Youkilis- 106, 117

Casey Sucks.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Casey has posted an OPS+ over 110 3 times. One of them in a season under 500 Ab's.

Casey Sucks.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

All three were in Cinc.

Casey Sucks.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

I take my last comment back. He hit well on the road. But still:


Casey Sucks

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

And by the way, I never mentioned anything about Youkilis.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Very few that don't suck? Rich said that Casey's OPS+ would be higher than 11 teams' first baseman. 19 isn't very few.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Tony, I agree with you - Casey obviously sucks.

But saying that a 110 OPS for a first baseman sucks is kind of extreme.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

And I still think that as far as backups go, a guy with a .296 BA and .353 OBP isn't too bad.

And in regards to Carter, I might be more willing to go with him in a backup role in the NL where he would at least be able to find a few more at bats with pinch-hitting appearances which he won't get many of in the AL. I still feel that Casey is better suited to that particular role than Carter.

But as I noted in my very first post, Casey's contract isn't gauranteed which means he'll have to earn the spot which means that Carter could still beat him out which in turn means that some folk here are jumping the gun a wee bit.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

A .353 OBP isn't bad but a .393 SLG is.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

I can't believe that some of you are bashing a player getting less than 10% of the salary he got in 2006. And like Rich says, the contract isn't even guaranteed.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

It's fun to make fun of players who suck.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

I actually think that Casey could be a useful addition to certain teams at that price. Not the Red Sox. They have enough options at first base already. If they felt like they needed a Proven Veteran off their bench (and I'm not sure why they do; it's not like this is the youngest team in the league) I think it should have been someone who can play the middle infield, or at the very least double as a fifth outfielder.

This is nitpicking, because the BoSox are a great team and there have been moves this offseason that have made me scratch my head for a lot longer. But the Red Sox do have an odd history of stockpiling corner outfield/first base/designated hitter types. It's like thay missed all of the baseball games where announcers droned on about needing to be strong up the middle when they were kids.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

OBP of backup first basemen in 2007 (based on innings played)

Phi - Helms - .297 - 280 at bats
NYM - Green - .352 - 446
Atl - Thorman - .258 - 287
Wsh - Fick - .309 - 197
Fla - Boone - .388 - 189
ChC - Ward - .436 - 110
Mil - Graffanino - .315 - 231
StL - Spiezio - .354 - 223
Hou - Lamb - .366 - 311
Cin - Conine - .320 - 215 (OBP & AB w/Cin only)
Pit - Phelps - .463 - 77 (OBP & AB w/Pitt only)
Ari - Clark - .310 - 221
Col - Baker - .296 - 144
SD - Blum - .319 - 330/Ensberg - .308 - 58
(both played just 9 innings at 1B for SD behind Gonzalez)
LA - Garciaparra - .328 - 431/Seanez - .295 - 110
SF - Aurilia - .304 - 329
Bos - Hinske - .317 - 186
NYY - Phillips - .338 - 185
Tor - Stairs - .368 - 357
Bal - Huff - .337 - 550
TB - Wigginton - .329 - 378
Cle - Martinez - .374 - 562
Det - Thames - .278 - 269
Min - Cirillo - .327 - 153
ChW - Erstad - .310 - 310
KC - Shealy - .286 - 172
LAA - Quinlan - .304 - 178
Sea - Broussard - .330 - 240
Oak - Swisher - .381 - 539
Tex - Wilkerson - .319 - 338

Casey's .353 OBP would've ranked 9th in baseball among all backup first basemen last year and of course, Swisher and Martinez were full-time players at other positions, backing up first on occasion.

I mean for Christ's sake. If you're going to bash the Red Sox for signing Casey to a non-gauranteed , $800,000 contract to backup first base then you had best look to bash the Rangers even harder. After all they are going to pay Ben Broussard a gauranteed $3.85 M to START at first.

Broussard in '07 - .275/.330/.404 - 96 OPS+
Career - .267/.328/.458 - 107 OPS+

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

i think you're all taking this a bit too seriously. Where does he rank in SLG, Rich?

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Tony, you COMPLETELY miss the point. I have never once argued that Casey is much of a slugger anymore. In fact I have long argued with Giants fans who wanted to acquire him for exactly that reason. But the point here is that he still hits near .300 and still gets on base better than most backup first basemen. Do you expect a backup 1B to lead the league in home runs?

What I want from a backup is a guy who doesn't hurt you while he's out there. I want a guy who can get on base. It's not all about the home run you know (or at least I thought you did). Casey gets on base well and for a backup thats a plus and it's not like the Sox are hurting for power.

Now Keith's most recent post makes good points. A more veratile type of hitter who can play 1B and perhaps a corner outfield spot but doesn't hit like Eric Hinske would have been a better idea but just because Casey doesn't hit for power anymore doesn't mean he sucks and I really would expect you to have a clue about that Tony.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

"What I want from a backup is a guy who doesn't hurt you while he's out there."

Add to it that defense doesn't hurt from a backup either and since Keith pointed out that Carter is not good with a glove (46 E in 316 games in the minors), that is a plus in Casey's favor.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Rich, you're just posting up stats that prove your point. SLG is not all HR. I thought you would have a clue about that, Rich. OBP is important yes, I know that. But SLG is just as important, and Casey hurts you in that department.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

And it's not like there hurting in OBP, either.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Casey had 30 doubles last year in 453 at bats but only 4 home runs. His low SLG was the direct result of a low home run total and of course, he played his home games in Detroit which isn't exactly a home run haven.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

And yes Tony, I usually try to post stats that prove rather than disprove my point. Good call there.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Comerica had a HR rate of 1.13 last year. 1 is average.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Last year at home Casey hit .316/.383/.413. His doubles split was 14/16 (16 were hit on the road. and his HR split was even.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

It also silly to compare Caesy's numbers as a starter to backups. We have no clue how he will perform with out stable playing time.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Ok Tony, I concede that Comerica is apparently not the death valley it used to be before the fences were brought in. Still, he hit doubles at a pace of nearly 40 in 600 AB. Again as I said before, his low slugging % was the result of only 4 HR so once again, it's not all about the home run.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

"Add to it that defense doesn't hurt from a backup either and since Keith pointed out that Carter is not good with a glove (46 E in 316 games in the minors), that is a plus in Casey's favor."

I would submit, however, that since most teams (stupidly) stack right-handed lineups in Fenway Park, first base defense should not be a priority for the Red Sox. Finding a viable backup to Julio Lugo and Dustin Pedroia should be. Unless anyone here would like to make a pro-Alex Cora argument.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Okay! Alex Cora, let's see....ummm....well....uh....hey! There was the 21 pitch AB ending in a home run a few years back! lol...

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

There's a difference between being all about the HR and wanting your first baseman to hit more than 4.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Yes, because it's important to expect your backup 1B to be a 20-30 HR guy.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Last year he started and only hit 4. I'm not asking him to hit 20-30. Cracking double digits wouldn't hurt. I think it's safe to say he'll probably hit less than that without adequate playing time.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Of course he could always hook a few past the Pesky Pole but nevertheless, if he can get on base better than Hinske did last year for the Sox (.317 OBP) then he'll clearly be an improvement since Hinske only outslugged Casey by .005.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

I don't think any of us foresaw Option C, Mark Kotsay.

I would certainly add Carter to the World Series roster if I were in charge of the Red Sox and they advanced.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Oh absolutely. I'd much rather have a rookie with 18 ML at-bats playing on the biggest stage in the world insted of a 34-year old veteran who batted .322/.381/.392.

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

I am talking about Mark Kotsay. Who are you talking about?

Re: Who would you rather have as a backup first baseman?

Well I thought you were talking about Carter instead of Casey but either way, using a rookie with 18 ML at bats instead of a proven veteran in the WS is not how I would play it, especially if that rookie hadn't had any game action in a couple of weeks.

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