When Mike Carp was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in March 2013, the Boston Red Sox believed that he would be the answer to depth issues at the beginning of the season. After hitting .296 with nine home runs in a career-high 86 games in 2013, the Red Sox decided to hold onto Carp, who provided solid depth at first base and in the outfield. However, as other players have developed their skill sets since the end of the 2013 season, Carp has become more expendable, leaving him to become a major drawer of attention on the trade market.
Carp, 27, has become expendable because his offensive abilities are too frequently left to waste in favor of other starters. Carp has the capacity to become a starting first baseman for many MLB teams due to his skills with the bat, plus his defensive flexibility. In the short run, Carp could be a solid backup for Mike Napoli, who is day-to-day after dislocating his ring finger against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. However, Carp isn’t fit for the new direction of the Red Sox offense, making him more vulnerable to a transaction in the coming months.
In addition to his mismatching skill set in relation to the Red Sox’ offensive scheme, Carp is being overshadowed by other Red Sox players trying to play first base. Manager John Farrell is at a point in the season where he will play other position players over Carp, who is hitting just .214 in eight games this season. Daniel Nava is the main challenger for Carp’s stake as a backup first baseman, plus Ryan Lavarnway has been playing more as a first baseman for the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA). Along with Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks returning from the disabled list in the coming weeks, roster spots will need to be readied, so Carp (being the most expendable player on the roster) might be moved in order to clear the air for those two to return.
Contracts are always a factor when it comes to moving player, and Carp, despite just becoming arbitration-eligible after the 2013 season, seems to be the most likely to be moved. He is out of minor league options, and even though he is scheduled to hit the free agent market in 2017, Carp will likely be moved before then. Teams like the Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros could use reinforcements at first base, which makes Carp a reasonable acquisition for those two teams, among many others that need depth at first base.
Essentially, Carp is the most expendable player on the Red Sox due to conflicting paths that limit the flow of Carp’s future. If Carp wanted to capitalize on a solid professional career, he would be better off getting traded to a team that needs a first baseman. With his skill set, Carp deserves to be on another team, making significant contributions any where he could go.