The Boston Red Sox today acquired first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. To make room for Carp on the 40-man roster, outfielder Ryan Kalish was placed on the 60-day disabled list recovering from right shoulder surgery.
The Mariners designated Carp for assignment on February 12, giving them 10 days to trade, release or send him back to the minors. Considering he is just 26 years old and still has some value, it made sense for the team to explore trade options.
Carp became expendable because of the moves the Mariners made this offseason. They added Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay and Michael Morse through trades and free agency, and there was not enough room for all of them.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, do not have a lot of outfield depth right now. Jacoby Ellsbury, assuming he can stay healthy, is locked into center field. Shane Victorino, who was signed this winter, will play right field.
Carp also has the ability to play first base on days when Mike Napoli is catching or needs a day off. Both players have hit lefties much better in their careers, so that could present a problem for the Red Sox, though it should be noted that Napoli uncharacteristically posted higher numbers against right-handed pitchers last season.
Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes will likely battle Carp for playing time. Carp's upper hand here comes in his aforementioned effectiveness against left-handed pitching. He has a .300/.341/.462 slash line in 76 games against southpaws.
We are seeing more and more teams embrace platoons this offseason. The Red Sox knew that they weren't going to find a major upgrade this late in the process, so Carp is a solid investment who isn't going to cost a lot.