'Zero chance' Mike Carp is extended, could still be traded by Red Sox

Ronald Martinez

The Red Sox bench bat might have more value elsewhere.

Mike Carp is one of the four remaining arbitration-eligible players on the Red Sox, and on Friday, if he remains unsigned, we'll find out what salary he is filing for. While we can only guess at what he'll end up agreeing to play for, what we do know, according to Mass Live's Jason Mastrodonato, is that there is "zero chance" Carp will be signed for more than one year.

In addition, Carp might still be traded before Opening Day. In much the same way the Mariners didn't make a decision on Carp until mid-February in order to make room for outfielder Jason Bay, the Red Sox are in no rush to move Carp off of the roster unless they have to. Right now, there is room on the roster for the first baseman/left fielder/designated hitter, but if they were to add any additional bodies, such as Stephen Drew, that would not be the case any longer.

Even if they do not add Drew, Carp could still go: he batted .296/.362/.523 in 243 plate appearances last year, and has a career OPS+ of 118 despite some scuffles along the way. Carp has legitimate power and can play first base, and there seems to be a lack of both of those things in the majors at the moment. If the Red Sox could bring in a solid package in return for Carp from a team desperate for a first baseman with pop -- say, for instance, the Brewers, who have failed to bring in Mets' first baseman Ike Davis because they don't want to give up Tyler Thornburg -- then they should. If no such package exists, then Carp can certainly live on the bench to mash righties when necessary once more. There might be something out there, though, as clubs were asking the Sox about Carp all the way back at the Winter Meetings, well before the market had emptied itself out.

He's not without question marks, as last season produced a .385 batting average on balls in play, and was protected by manager John Farrell, who made sure 215 of his 243 total plate appearances came against right-handed pitching. If you're only going to hit against one handedness, though, you want it to be righties, since they throw nearly three-quarters of all innings.

If the Red Sox do not trade Carp, and do not extend him, he will still remain under team control through 2016, as this is his first year of arbitration eligibility. If they do deal him, you can guarantee it's going to be for more than the straight cash they paid to take him off the Mariners' hands less than a year ago.

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