Mike Carp has been very forthright with the Boston Red Sox. The first baseman/outfielder wants to be traded because he’s frustrated with his current role.
Carp, who confirmed Saturday that he asked the Red Sox to trade him, explained his stance to reporters at Tropicana Field. The 28-year-old feels things are trending in the wrong direction when it comes to his playing time, and he thus thinks another organization might be able to offer a better opportunity.
“I’m not trying to single out poor me. It’s been that way for a lot of guys. But in the role that I’m in, it’s very tough to even try to compete,” Carp told reporters in St. Petersburg before Saturday’s game. “You’re playing once every 10 days, once every week. I’m going to start (Sunday in Tampa Bay). It’s been a complete week (since I’ve started), facing a pretty good pitcher. It’s tough.
“It feels almost as if sometimes you’re getting set up for failure. It’s a tough situation. Nobody wants to think that. My goal every day is to go out there and win and try to help the team the best I can, do the best with my opportunity. That’s where my mind’s at. But when you sit around for a week, for two weeks, thoughts linger and it makes it difficult.”
Carp missed more than a month this season with a broken foot. He also is hitting just .215 (17-for-79) with a .641 OPS and nine RBIs in 95 plate appearances over 39 games. Carp proved to be a key contributor off the bench during last year’s World Series run, though, so he can’t quite figure out why his role has been reduced in 2014.
“To ask to be off a world championship team? It’s pretty tough. I felt like I’ve gone my last leg at this point. It’s going backwards from where we were before,” Carp said. “Nothing was guaranteed last year. We understood that, coming off an injury and the way I was picked up. But you had to feel with the run we put together last year, key parts of how that happened, you can’t lose sight of that. I just feel like this year, the way this has gone, it hasn’t turned out that way.”
Carp was acquired by the Red Sox from the Seattle Mariners during spring training in 2013. He had a solid first season in Boston despite limited playing time, hitting .296 with nine homers, 43 RBIs and an .885 OPS in 243 plate appearances over 86 regular-season games. Carp’s assumption was that the breakout campaign would propel him toward a greater opportunity, but that simply hasn’t’ been the case. As a result, Carp and his agent, Tom O’Connell, apparently spoke with Red Sox officials following the All-Star break about a potential trade.
“I can be a difference maker every day. That’s what I’ve worked so hard to be,” Carp said Saturday. “When there are comments about how short my swing is, how I fit into that role, it didn’t just happen that way. I’ve worked my whole life for it to be that way, to be an everyday player, not to be forced into a bench role because my swing fits that pattern. That’s not fair to me to even say that. I would hope that the benefits of, ‘he can play multiple positions, he gets on base, he does this and that,’ would work in my favor. It hasn’t, and that’s kind of where we’re at.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell acknowledged Saturday that he has spoken with Carp several times about playing time and that he respects the slugger’s desire to get on the field. General manager Ben Cherington said he’d prefer not to comment on any private conversations between players and the front office.
Clearly, Carp isn’t happy with the current situation. One has to wonder if his days in Boston are numbered with Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline looming.