By Jeff Louderback
Long speculated as a potential trade target, Mike Carp was acquired today by the Boston Red Sox from the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
The 26-year-old Carp, who is a left-handed hitting first baseman/left fielder, has been mentioned as an ideal fit for the Red Sox for several weeks.
Carp is a role player. Much like Mike Morse, who did not start to fully realize his potential until his sixth season in the majors in 2010, Carp could be a late bloomer. He did have 12 home runs and 46 RBI and hit .276/.326/.466/.791 in 313 plate appearances for the Mariners in 2011, but injuries interrupted his 2012 campaign when he slipped to .213/.312/.341/.654 with five home runs and 20 RBI in 189 plate appearances.
Over his Major League career, which consists of parts of four seasons and 608 plate appearances, Carp has a. 241 average and a .398 slugging percentage against right-handed pitchers while batting .310 against left-handers (in 42 at-bats) last year and .306 against them in 2011. Those are reverse splits, but Carp did produce impressive power numbers at Triple-A, including 50 home runs between 2010 and 2011.
Carp will compete with Lyle Overbay for the left-handed hitting backup first base/left field job. The winner will see time at both positions when a right-hander is on the mound since projected starting left fielder Jonny Gomes and first baseman Mike Napoli are right-handed hitters who mash lefties but struggle against righties.
It is unlikely that Carp and Overbay will both make the opening day roster since the Red Sox need a defensively sound outfielder who can play all three positions as a backup. Ryan Sweeney is the most likely candidate for that role.