February 20, 2013
Fishing for Carp
Mike Carp, a victim of the Mariners’ logjam at the corner positions and in the designated-hitter slot, was designated for assignment on Feb. 12. That kept him out Zachary Levine’s Meeting of the Mariner DHs on Tuesday and should ensure that he will be en route to his third professional organization before the end of the workweek. Where might Carp be headed? Let’s take a look…
Carp should probably pack his bags
Meanwhile, the clock kept ticking on the Mariners’ 10-day window to find a new home for Carp, who hit just .213/.312/.341 last season, but smacked 12 home runs in just 313 plate appearances in 2011. A left-handed hitter, Carp has actually fared better against southpaws (.275 TAv, versus .254 against righties) in his brief major-league career, but his strikeout rate and poor defensive profile limit his value. Once thought to be a potential “above-average big league first baseman,” Carp now seems destined to face annual roster battles and bounce between teams in need of corner-position depth each spring, unless he can regain the shine that has worn off his bat.
As Nick Cafardo, the national baseball writer for the Boston Globe, pointed out yesterday afternoon, the Mariners must trade Carp by tomorrow night, and Zduriencik is reportedly fielding calls from three of his counterparts. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington is one of them, and Boston’s connection to Carp goes back at least a month, to this tweet from Cafardo’s Globe colleague Peter Abraham. Jeff Luhnow of the Astros and Terry Ryan of the Twins are also at least kicking the tires on a deal.
The Red Sox’ interest in Carp is difficult to gauge, because Cherington inked free agent Lyle Overbay to a minor-league pact earlier this month, seemingly addressing the lack of veteran depth behind new first baseman Mike Napoli. Boston also tacked Mark Hamilton onto its list of non-roster invitees in January, and with Mauro Gomez floating around, too, there is not much room for another defensively limited bat. Carp could give manager John Farrell a lefty backup to left fielder Jonny Gomes, but his reverse-split résumé casts doubt on the feasibility of that arrangement. Moreover, Farrell already has a strong candidate for the timeshare in switch-hitter Daniel Nava, who owns a .286 TAv versus northpaws in limited big-league action and showed impressive plate discipline last year.
Houston also seems to have a glut at the positions where Carp can play, with Brett Wallace projected to start at first base, former first baseman Carlos Pena on track to be the team’s first full-time designated hitter, and newly acquired slugger Chris Carter potentially in line for at-bats at both of those spots, as well as left field. That list also does not include the team’s Rule 5 Draft selection, Nate Freiman, a 6-foot-8 first baseman who made a positive first impression on his skipper, Bo Porter. With no hope of contending in 2013, the Astros could stockpile low-cost talents like Carp and cross their fingers for a rebound to their erstwhile upside, but spots are hard to come by, even on Houston’s gutted roster.