Let’s get all of the puns out of the way now and say that acquiring Mike Carp doesn’t exactly mean the Red Sox reeled in a big fish. Carp is a serviceable bench player, though, and he’ll bring some added competition to the mix at a very reasonable cost. The Red Sox on Wednesday acquired Carp from the Mariners in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. WEEI.com’s Alex Speier reports that the Red Sox are not expected to part ways with a prospect of significance in the deal, which means the cost of acquiring Carp is essentially a small financial commitment and a spot on the club’s 40-man roster. When you consider the very low risk of nabbing Carp, the deal certainly makes sense. Carp struggled last season, hitting just .213 in 164 at-bats, and he’s only a career .255 hitter with a .327 on-base percentage. He did show some promise in 2011, though, hitting .276 with 12 home runs and 46 RBIs in 290 at-bats. At only 26 years old, there’s plenty of reason to believe Carp might be able to replicate or exceed those 2011 numbers in the future if given the opportunity, so why not bring him in in exchange for small potatoes? There’s still a chance Lyle Overbay, who the Red Sox signed earlier this offseason, could land the job of Mike Napoli‘s backup, but Carp provides more versatility given his experience at both first base and in the outfield. Plus, he — like Overbay — is a left-handed bat, so he could spell Jonny Gomes, a right-handed hitter who has performed much better against lefties throughout his career. Carp has the ability to work counts, and he’s not a bad defender at first or in the outfield, so he fits exactly the mold that general manager Ben Cherington has been seeking in a bench player as we inch closer to Opening Day. Versatility is definitely the main reason Carp could be the option the Red Sox eventually elect to keep around after spring training, and his ceiling should play a factor in the team’s decision-making as well. Overbay is clearly at the tail end of his career, while Carp might have plenty of good years in front of him. Carp will have to show up and perform during spring training, though, as he’s not just going to be handed the job.

Read more at: http://nesn.com/2013/02/mike-carp-gives-red-sox-more-spring-training-competition-could-become-valuable-because-of-versatility/