Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sox Score Bargain with Carp

Carp has been more than just a feel-good story 
In their quest for outfield depth after injuries forced Bobby Valentine to use about a bajillion outfielders last year, the Boston Red Sox got Mike Carp for next to nothing on February 20th, when they acquired the 26 year-old from the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later or cash considerations (a bag of balls, essentially). Carp was coming off a down year in which he batted just .213/.312/.341, and the M's didn't have much use for him after signing Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay and Mike Morse during the offseason.

The Red Sox didn't appear to have much need for him either, not with Jackie Bradley Jr. poised to make a big splash in the big leagues. But Bradley bombed during his first two weeks in the Show and was quickly demoted to Pawtucket for additional seasoning. That opened up playing time for Carp, who smashed three extra base hits in his first start with the Sox--a 6-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on April 17th--and hasn't stopped hitting since. After going 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI in last night's extra inning marathon victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, Carp hiked his batting line is up to an impressive .322/.367/.667 over 98 plate appearances.

Like Cody Ross last year, Carp's performed way better than anyone could have possibly predicted. He's taken his game to another level as one of the unsung heroes driving Boston's excellent first half. Carp has smacked more home runs than Dustin Pedroia, driven in more runs than Jacoby Ellsbury and compiled more total bases than Shane Victorino. Not bad for someone barely making more than $500,000 this year.

Carp came into the season expecting to spend lots of time on Boston's bench as the club's fifth outfielder (behind Ellsbury, Victorino, Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes), but his heavy hitting has forced John Farrell to overlook his lackluster glove and pencil him into the starting lineup more frequently. After making just eight starts in the season's first six weeks, Carp's appeared in 15 of Boston's previous 18 games, starting 13 of them. Consistent playing time has helped him get in a groove at the plate; since the calendar flipped to June, he's belted three home runs, knocked in nine, and batted a scintillating .444/.484/.852.

When a player's that hot, you don't take him out of the lineup, regardless of where he stands on the depth chart.


  1. I'd hardly compare what Carp is doing to what Ross did. What's so surprising about Ross batting .267 with 22 homers? That's pretty much what he does in a good year, right? Not exactly a shock.

  2. True, but Ross was coming off back-to-back down years and was a bargain bin pickup. He carried the offense for stretches during the first half (like Carp is now) before cooling off after the All-Star break when Boston's season went south.