VETERAN OUTFIELDER COULD PROVIDE INSURANCE AT SEVERAL POSITIONS
The Washington Nationals signed 1B/OF Mike Carp to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Carp, 28, is a .254/330/.414 career hitter in part of six seasons played exclusively in the American League and exactly 1,000 career plate appearances.
Carp is adequate defensively in either corner outfield slot or first base and will provide insurance as several positions, granted his problems at the plate last season were an aberration and not the new norm.
Carp split time between Boston and Texas last season and hit a woeful .175/.289/.230 in 149 plate appearances with no home runs, five doubles and 13 RBIs. That was a drastic departure from his valuable 2013 season with Boston, when he hit .296/.362/.523 with nine homers in 243 appearances.
Carp’s career year was in 2011 with Seattle, when he hit .276/.326/.466 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs in 313 plate appearances.
This is another in a long line of moves by Mike Rizzo to keep costs down with potential medium returns. Consider these separate but related facts:
- Jayson Werth is out due to surgery on his right shoulder and questionable for opening day
- Ryan Zimmerman has been injured and missed significant time in each of the past five seasons.
- The Nats bench is slated to include Nate McLouth, Tyler Moore and rookie Michael Taylor
When Werth went down, it was all but assumed the Nats would bring in a veteran to compete for playing time while the hirsute left fielder mends and bolster the bench upon his return. Mike Carp seems to fit that mold…if the bat comes back.