Nationals sign Mike Carp to Minor League deal


Jul 10, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman

Mike Carp

(37) knocks in the winning run against the Chicago White Sox during the tenth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals added some more depth to their bench Tuesday, signing veteran first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp to a Minor League deal with an invitation to big league Spring Training.

Carp, 28, is a career .254 hitter with a .744 OPS in parts of six seasons with the Mariners, Red Sox and Rangers. His best season came with Boston in 2013, when he hit .296 with nine home runs and 43 RBIs in 86 games.

While Carp wasn’t nearly as effective in 2014 – batting just .175 in 59 games with the Red Sox and Rangers – he should still provide the Nationals with a solid option off the bench, which was the team’s biggest weakness last season.

It won’t be easy for Carp, who will have to complete with a number of players this spring to make the Opening Day roster. But if he can put up the numbers that he did with the Red Sox two years ago, the Nationals may have finally found a bench player who is capable of helping the team late in the game.

If Carp makes the team out of Spring Training, he will not only provide some much-needed help off the bench, but he could also serve as a replacement for first baseman Ryan Zimmerman if he were to get injured. While moving across the diamond from third to first should help Zimmerman stay healthy, he has been injury-prone the last few years and it’s good to have someone who has been successful at the big league level ready to step in if needed.

Carp is the latest in a string of minor deals the Nationals have made in recent weeks, the most notable of which was signing Dan Uggla last month. While all of these players will be competing for just one or two spots on the Opening Day roster this spring, all of them will provide the Nationals with plenty of depth, which is extremely important for a team that hopes to play deep into October next season.