Ryan Sweeney has not made the cut, but Mike Carp has been informed that he will be part of the Red Sox' Opening Day roster. This is not a huge surprise, as the signs were there throughout the week -- Lyle Overbay was given his release, freeing him to sign with the Yankees and leaving Carp as some of the only first base depth on the roster, and then the aforementioned Sweeney used his opt-out when told he wasn't making the roster as outfield depth.
Carp isn't a particularly good or even competent defensive outfielder, but you can throw a glove on him every now and again as necessary. Like with first base, if there is ever a situation where Carp is being forced into a long-term role in the outfield, Boston will likely find help from outside of the organization rather than go down that road.
The 27-year-old Carp hit just .190/.244/.310 in spring training, and did this facing Triple-A caliber competition. That being said, it's just spring training, and it was only 45 plate appearances. More instructive is his .255/.327/.413 career line that, while not impressive out-of-context, amounts to an above-average 110 OPS+ once you account for the offense-sucking environment of Seattle's Safeco Field. One wonders, too, if getting away from Safeco entirely -- and into the hands of an organization that remembers what scoring runs is -- will have more benefits for Carp than park factors suggest, as sometimes happens with hitters in environments hostile to offense.
He's not a great option, but, then again, how many great backup options are there at first base in the league? Look to the richest team in baseball, the Yankees, who nearly fell over themselves to get Overbay once he was released by Boston, for an answer to that question. Carp is a stretch as a starter, but the Red Sox don't need him for that. As a lefty who has hit lefties a bit in his career that can serve as first base depth and the occasional outfield appearance to spell the regulars, he should work fine enough.