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Red Sox, Just Say No To Mike Carp

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The Red Sox are still looking for a backup first baseman with a left-handed bat. Under no circumstances should they settle for Mike Carp.


The Mike Napoli deal is finally done now, and that is good. But it does not mean the Red Sox are completely through. While they still have to plan around Napoli's incentives, meaning the payroll is in all likelihood almost full, there is still a hole to fill. The Sox have many right-handed hitters, and no backup first baseman outside of Quadruple-A player Mauro Gomez. That is something they would very much like to rectify.

One name that's been floated around--most recently by Pete Abraham last night--is Mike Carp. This would be a terrible move for the Red Sox.

But what do I really think? While the Mike [Fish] blueprint for ballplayers has seen some excellent results recently, Carp is about as far from Trout as you can get without going to the pitcher's mound. That's because Mike Carp doesn't seem to be that great at baseball. The bearer of a 1.1 fWAR over his 600 career major league plate appearances, Carp spent the last year stinking it up in Seattle, hitting .213/.313/.341. While Seattle can do some funky things to a hitter, Carp cannot realistically claim to be a victim of Safeco, having hit better at home both last year, and over the course of his career in general. Given that Carp is a first baseman/left fielder--the typical combo for the gloveless--he's going to need to do a lot better than that to be worth a roster spot.

Still, much badness can be forgiven if Carp filled a role. And he is a left-handed batter. That being said, though, in his short time in the majors Carp has actually hit lefties noticeably better than righties, which the Red Sox really don't need right now.

None of this is a death knell for the young man's career. At 26 it's possible there's more to come from him. He had a decent season in 2011, BABIP-high though it was, and splits don't really mean all that much this early in a guy's career. But this is a fringe player from a bad team, and if it's possible he has a surprising 2013, that's true of just about anyone not named Eric Patterson.

There are better possibilities out there. Depending on the Mariners' disposition at the moment, Carp's teammate Justin Smoak could be one of them, given his more positive home-away splits and his history of hype (although the splits are still wrong). For that matter, there are better possibilities already here. Nobody wants to consider Mauro Gomez all that seriously, but when you put him up against Mike Carp he doesn't look all that bad.

Just say no to Mike Carp. No, no, a thousand times no.