The Baltimore Orioles are looking for ways to improve their lineup during this offseason.
One option that the Orioles are reportedly scoping out is free agent first baseman/designated hitter Chris Carter. Carter was non-tendered by the Milwaukee Brewers after hitting 42 home runs last season:
Chris Carter becomes one of finest power-hitters on market after #Brewers decide to non-tender him instead of paying likely $9-$10M in arbit
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 29, 2016
Here’s the catch, he struck out 206 times in 644 plate appearances (roughly 32% of his at-bats) in addition to having a slash line of .222/.321/.499. Carter did draw 76 walks, a number that is pretty good despite his whiffs at the plate. He also had an .875 OPS in 2016 against lefties. To be completely honest, Carter is a right-handed Pedro Alvarez.
Speaking of Alvarez, I’d bring him back before I’d bring in Carter because at least Alvarez won’t strike 200 times per year. In comparison, Alvarez struck out 97 times in 376 plate appearances (roughly 26% of his at-bats), with a slash line of .249/.322/.504, hitting 22 home runs. Alvarez walked 37 times. The biggest difference is, Alvarez is a left-handed hitter. The Orioles need a lefty in the lineup at designated hitter against righties, unless his name is Mark Trumbo. The Orioles also have Trey Mancini, who will most likely serve as their right-handed designated hitter, who will bat against lefties.
Signing Carter just wouldn’t make much sense, considering the fact that the team is chock full of sluggers already. His bat doesn’t offer anything new that the Orioles don’t already have or can have at a cheaper price. In addition to this, why not add a speedy designated hitter? Most American League teams use their DH role as another power bat in the lineup, but the Orioles are in need of a guy that just gets on base and hits for average. They could rotate guys as the DH.
So if the Orioles want to make a smart deal during this offseason, they can begin with not signing Carter. Signing Alvarez would be the better deal because you know what you are getting with Pedro. His power is a proven commodity in Camden Yards.