Mike Carp said that he has requested a trade from the Red Sox. (AP)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Mike Carp didn’t want to be in a position to ask for a trade. The 28-year-old showed up in spring training and said that, to the contrary, he’d rather remain in the role that he relished — and in which he thrived — with the Red Sox in 2013 than be traded to another team that might afford him greater playing time.
Yet the role that he enjoyed, and in which he became in many ways a symbol of the team’s depth-driven formula to achieve a title, was not the one he perceived himself as occupying this season. In 2013, he played in 86 games and had 243 plate appearances in the regular season en route to a .296/.362/.523 line. At the All-Star break this year, through 95 team games, he’d appeared in 38 contests with just 91 plate appearances, hitting .221/.330/.312.
And so, Carp arrived at a point that he did not relish. Coming out of the All-Star break, in conversations that included his agent and team officials, he requested a trade, making clear his desire to find a greater opportunity to play.
“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,” said Carp. “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.
“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. 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 Carp's last start], 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 said that the team has been aware of his desire for a greater role but had proven unable or unwilling to accommodate it. As such, he felt compelled to inform the team of his desire to be traded — a matter that Carp says he will now leave in the hands of agent Tom O’Connell and team officals.
“It hasn’t been a shocker. I’ve been very blatant where I stand from the get-go about it. I need the opportunity to play. I need the opportunity to get some at-bats,” said Carp. “There really hasn’t been an attempt made here and I just feel like there would be a better situation at this point.”
Manager John Farrell confirmed that he has talked a number of times with Carp about playing time.
‘We’ve met multiple times coming out of the break and since the break, since we’ve started back up. He wants to play more. I respect that,’ said Farrell. ‘I can respect his desire to get on the field.’
GM Ben Cherington, meanwhile, said that his preference was that the conversations between players and front office members remain a matter of private concern.
“I’d prefer not to comment on any private conversation that we have with a player. We understand that when things aren’t going as well as we’ve liked for the team and for any player who’s not in the role that they would most like to be, there can be frustration and we’re all human. We understand that,” said Cherington. “There’s a way to deal with that, there’s a way to handle that in the right way and in this particular case I think that means keeping those conversations private.
“We’ll see how it goes, we’ve got a lot of important things going on, not just with respect to the deadline but with respect to this team and learning about players and giving players opportunities and giving guys a chance to take a step forward in their careers and development and we’ve got to focus on that as much as possible and make it productive. I know that’s what John Farrell’s trying to do, that’s what the coaching staff is doing. I think that’s what the majority of players in our clubhouse are doing. And I guess I’ll just leave it at that.”
If traded and afforded more frequent plate appearances, Carp feels he has a chance to make a meaningful impact on a team in contention.
“I can be a difference maker every day. That’s what I’ve worked so hard to be,” said Carp. “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.”