Mike Carp asked to be traded, it was reported Saturday. Mike Carp. Not Mike Trout. He would be a whole other kettle of fish. Instead, it's Mike Carp, a reserve first baseman-outfielder on the Boston Red Sox who wants out.
Yes, general manager Ben Cherington probably will get right on that. He might even make the front office start working in shifts in order to make a Carp trade happen before the non-waiver deadline comes Thursday afternoon. You know another Carp looking for help? The Hiroshima Carp. How would Mike Carp like to play in Japan?
Carp is batting .215 with zero home runs in 79 at-bats. He has a .641 on-base plus slugging percentage, coming into Saturday. He has appeared in 298 games, total, in his major league career, and recently turned 28 years old.
And yet, Carp has the gumption to ask for a trade. He didn't demand a trade (because, there's a line!) and he doesn't sound jerky about asking for it. He just wants one. In Carp's view, he's not playing enough and he needs to play more to make the most of his career. That part is simple. It's not an unreasonable thought. It might not even be an unreasonable request, if done quietly through channels.
But now that the entire world knows about it, well, it's not going to help a deal happen. It takes some of the Red Sox's leverage away. "Oh, you want to trade us the guy everyone knows doesn't want to be there anymore? We'll send our top prospect over."
Nobody is going out of their way to help the Red Sox anyway, and it also doesn't help that they're in last place and coming off a World Series title. Cherington's not in a position to put another team over a barrel for Mike Carp, when Cherington's already in the barrel, sort of.
Making this request public also might make other teams think that Carp is a complainer, and unwilling to appreciate that while, yes, he has value and should play more in an ideal world, he also can be replaced by any number of players, some of whom aren't even in the majors right now. Yeah, the other teams are saying, bring us that guy.
A ninth-round pick of the Mets 11 years ago, Carp had his contract purchased by the Red Sox from the Mariners during spring training 2013 and became a valuable part-time player for Boston on the way to the World Series. Carp batted .296/.362/.523 with nine homers in 243 plate appearances during the regular season. Though he wasn't as valuable in the playoffs — going 0 for 8 with one RBI — he helped the Red Sox get there. More than you or I did, anyway. He was good. He wasn't Mike Greenwell in 1989, but he was good.
This season he's been injured and has been used sparingly otherwise by manager John Farrell. Carp has accumulated 13 plate appearances this month. He's scheduled to start Sunday, which would make it a week since he previously played. The Red Sox have needed offense, which Carp can provide theoretically, so it's a little puzzling why he's been glued to the bench. But his defensive ability in the outfield isn't ideal for the corner spots at Fenway Park, and with Mike Napoli and David Ortiz understandably hogging most of the first base/designated hitter at-bats, that leaves Carp on the outs.
Hey, this is the United States of America. You're free to say whatever you like. And it doesn't hurt to ask, right?
Except when it might.
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