Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
The Red Sox are still hoping to get a first baseman and outfielder for the bench in the form of Mike Carp
The Red Sox don't have any need for Mike Carp in a starting role, much like the Mariners who designated him for assignment earlier this month. They do, however, believe that he could be an upgrade to their bench, one that's been searching for a left-handed bat that can manage at first base and in the outfield. Alex Speier reports that the Red Sox are "hopeful" that a deal can be worked out for Carp.
Carp isn't without his issues. In his career, he has hit lefties better than righties, and that doesn't present much use in Boston's lineup given they have the right-handed Mike Napoli at first as well as lefty-masher Jonny Gomes as the short-end of a platoon in left. Safeco is a tough pitchers' park, and it's hurt Carp in his career a bit most likely, but he hasn't done much better on the road. Granted, he could be one of those players whose home park ruins their approach overall, and getting them a change of scenery is the only way to fix things, but it's hard to know that.
His approach has been sub par, so either there's (a) something to that theory, or (b), his approach just isn't good anywhere. As R.J. Anderson wrote earlier this off-season:
At the plate Carp showed a poor understanding of the strike zone. Pitchers would ask him to expand his zone and he would oblige too often for comfort. He made a number of questionable swing decisions throughout. The old adage about good hitters fouling late, poor hitters fouling early came to mind; you can guess when Carp did his fouling. Carp does have some raw power, but not of the plus-plus variety and not enough to make up for his shortcomings. His hit tool is poor and he showed limited plate coverage. Factor in a bat that looked slow, even against average velocity from right-handed pitchers, and you're left shuddering at the thought of what top-end velocity might do to him.
If it's the second option, it doesn't matter much that Carp is a left-handed hitter who could benefit from Fenway Park's dimensions, not in a division with pitching as tough as the American League East's. If it's the former, however, then he could be a useful bench piece. Based on the above report, the second seems more plausible.
If the Sox were to acquire Carp, one wonders what that means for Lyle Overbay, as there isn't room on the 25-man roster for both. Just what they would give the Mariners is another question -- the 40-man roster is full, even without considering Ryan Sweeney and Lyle Overbay are on minor-league deals. Could Seattle be where Clayton Mortensen ends up, since the Red Sox have far too many relievers fighting for the last spot in the bullpen, and the righty is out of options? The Mariners would then have to designate someone else, so it might end up being someone off of Boston's 40-man, but it's tough to say at this point since it's not even clear the Mariners are interested in dealing Carp to the Sox.