As my colleague Conor Duffy recently pointed out, there is an increasing likelihood that the biggest wild card of spring training, outfielder Grady Sizemore, will indeed come north with the Red Sox from Florida as part of the outfield equation.
But the one part of that possibility that Conor did not touch on is the question of who would be the odd man out on the Sox roster? Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe broaches the subject here and I’d like to expand on it.
First let’s make three assumptions that I think Abraham nails:
Feb 21, 2014; Ft Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox outfielder Grady Sizemore (38) at bat during spring training at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
One, that the team is not likely to carry six outfielders. Two, that management would need to have Jackie Bradley, Jr. on the team as expecting Sizemore to be the starter from day one and play upwards of at least 125 games without incident is not realistic. After all, Sizemore hasn’t played in a game in two years. It is too risky to have him on the roster without a capable caddy.
Three, lets presume that Shane Victorino would not be moved from right field to center to be that caddy if Sizemore went down as that does not seem to be the team’s preference.
As I look at this dilemma here’s what I think will happen: Carp will be the man left out.
Mar 10, 2014; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Mike Carp (37) hits a single in the 6th inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
As I see it, the Red Sox have invested too much time in and gotten such great results from a high on-base guy like Nava to move him. Plus he’s a switch hitter and has shown he can spell Mike Napoli in a pinch at first base.
Gomes is a slightly different case. He is in the final year of a two-year deal and is a journeyman-type player so you’d think he’d be the candidate most likely to go. Unlike Nava and Carp, he can’t play first so he’s a bit limited. And he really isn’t considered a full time starter on this team.
But in just one season, Gomes has assumed the mantle of a clubhouse leader and a guy you want as part of the fabric of your roster. The team went on a miracle run with Gomes as an integral component. Plus he’s produced off the bench as a pinch hitter and bats right handed, offering the lefty-leaning lineup some balance.
I like Carp a lot but even though he can also spell Napoli at first base, his natural position, I think he brings Boston the most back in a trade scenario. Who they would acquire for him, I have no idea.
Carp is also very good off the bench but, in a numbers game, the math eventually has to work itself out in some way and Carp seems like the most obvious to be moved. The fact he bats left is a bit of a strike against him as well.
It wouldn’t be my first preference to move any of these guys but the numbers game is what it is. I think Carp will be moved but what do you all think?