I’ve always believed Carrot would be a Straw Hat. It stems back to her desire to see the outside world mirroring Oden and the Cat and Dog following.
Carrot received the same words Gol D. Roger told Pedro which he in turn told her saying her time will come (which I think alludes to her being a part of history).
She has a deep bond with the Straw Hats having already journeyed with them. This is similar to Vivi except Carrot isn’t a princess so she isn’t bound by duty to stay in Zou.
That panel of the whole crew hugging on Jinbe has me believing that Carrot will definitely be part of the main crew of the Straw Hats. She’s been with them for too long to just return back to Zou.
I think it’s very likely Carrot joins the crew after Wano, if not during this arc. In this panel with all of the Straw Hats she’s with them, no other side characters. In all of the previous panels from 976 where they see Jinbe’s return she is drawn with all of the Straw Hats, again no other side characters.
Moreover, when Luffy set out of East Blue and said he was going to become Pirate King, he said he was going to get at least 10 crew members along on his journey. Let’s count them.
- Zoro, Swordsman
- Nami, Navigator
- Usopp, Sniper
- Sanji, Cook
- Chopper, Doctor
- Franky, Shipwright
- Nico Robin, Archaeologist
- Brook, Musician
- Jinbe, Helmsman
- Carrot, Look-out (A very fitting role. As the saying goes; carrots are good for the eyes. She is also a capable fighter and has a great relationship with the whole crew.)
All roles filled. All Nakamas are going to be the absolute best in their fields of expertise.
The world’s best swordsman in Zoro, (We will see more of his development as a swordsman in the Wano arc. Maybe even his background and history).
The world’s best navigator in Nami (I am of the belief that she has already claimed this title.)
The world’s best sniper in Usopp (We all know he’s going to surpass his father, the current best sniper in the entire world of One Piece.)
The world’s best chef in Sanji (Kamabaka Kingdom can be proud of their anti-Okama-boi)
The world’s best doctor in Tony Tony Chopper (Because of his ability to speak to animals as well as humans, he has an advantage over every single Pirate doctor in the world of One Piece. This was shown briefly to us during the two year timeskip and his training)
The world’s best shipwright in Franky (Le student of Tom, the former best shipwright. Also, last to hold the blueprints of Pluton, until he destroyed it)
The world’s best archaeologist in Nico Robin (I mean, we all agree on this.)
The world’s best musician in Brook (already is the most renowned popstar, SOUL KING)
The world’s best helmsman in Jinbe (Like with Robin, I think we can all agree on this. No one beats Jinbe in this field. As a fishman, a former warlord and a life-long pirate, no one comes even close.)
And then Carrot. While she has never been out at sea before, we all know what she’s capable of as a fighter. She is also very agile and perceptive. As a ruler’s aide, she possesses a large amount of stamina, being active at all hours (ref. Chapter 811). She can levitate and jump extremely high, and is a very capable fighter. Also, her sulong form is unique and powerful in hand-to-hand combat, especially combined with Electro.
She has everything that would make her a perfect fit for this crew. I just can’t see it not happening.