Mike Carp went 0-3 in previous starts with the Red Sox, but during the April 17th game against the Cleveland Indians he shined offensively with three hits and one clutch RBI. In March, the Red Sox chose to keep him over Lyle Overbay, who now plays for the Yankees. At the time, many thought keeping Carp was a questionable decision. After the weekend the front office may feel that way too, as Overbay has scored five runs and fifteen hits for the Yankees. Then again, last year with the Seattle Mariners, Carp scored an unimpressive 17 runs and 35 hits in 164 plate appearances. Over the course of his career thus far, his batting average has hovered just around the mid-200s. So what is it with this guy that got Ben Cherrington’s attention? Did we keep the better of the two players? The last thing this team needs is a player that runs hot and cold.
He proved himself a valuable player Wednesday night, though, so let us look on the bright side for a moment. He is a versatile defensive player, adding depth to the outfield and infield. He played first base Wednesday, so if God forbid, Mike Napoli cannot fill that position, Carp would be able to play first. It is highly unlikely that you will see Carp beside the first base bag. Manager, John Farrell has him playing left field, switching off with Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes. Nava has been hot at the plate. We cannot afford to leave him out of the lineup.
Since Carp’s big day on Wednesday, April 17th, he only played in Sunday night’s game. Jonny Gomes seems to be proving himself a more dominant offensive player with a .412 on base percentage, and the preferred platooner at left. Carp played at left field Sunday night with Nava in right. It seems what Farrell looks for in an outfielder is not great defense, but whether they can make contact with the ball while at the plate.
Carp is capable of getting on base, which he proved on Sunday by getting to third at the end of the fourth inning. He is sometimes an offensive asset when it comes to left-handed pitchers. Still, with all that said, it seems to me Gomes would be a better player to platoon with Nava. There is a lot of pressure on the manager this year to win, and if someone does not produce (get on base) they will be cast aside.
Asking questions about Carp is truly asking: what do the Red Sox want out of their outfield players? The answers are 1) guys that can hit, get on base, and score 2) guys that can catch fly balls. So where does that leave Carp? He only meets one of the criteria after this weekend’s games.
Is there a place for Mike Carp on this roster? We would love to hear your thoughts.