The Yankees signed Chris Carter, 1B/OF/DH, to a 1 yr., $3MM contract today. There are good things and bad things about this. I will try to be fair in listing both.
Good. Comes cheap. How many defending league home run champs come at that price? Carter shared the NL HR lead in 2016 with 41.
Bad. Despite the 41 HR, he only hit .222 and struck out 206 times, leading the NL. .222-41-94, 206 strikeouts, OPS+ 114.
Good. He has averaged 33 HR per year over the last 4 years. 29-37-24-41.
Bad. He has also averaged a .219 batting average over that same period, with 188 strikeouts per year.
Good. He is an insurance policy for 1B/LF/RF/ DH if Bird, Austin, Judge aren’t ready or Holliday shows his age (Carter is 30), also if Gardner needs a rest against a lefty pitcher (Carter is a righty bat). He also can spell Bird against a tough lefty.
Bad. He isn’t a good fielder or baserunner. Will he impede the progress of Bird, Austin or Judge? How much does this move show a lack of confidence in Bird, Austin or Judge?
Good or Bad. Does this move signal that another move is imminent? If so, who goes and for whom?
Carter has a 162 g. average of .218-35-88, OPS+ 112. The power is good, but the batting average and strikeouts (206) are awful. All or nothing.
I don’t know how the Yanks plan on using him. It all depends on how the kids do in spring training. If Bird and Austin fail, he could play 1B. If Judge fails but Bird is Ok, then maybe Holliday plays RF and Carter DH’s. There are various scenarios that could play out.
As an insurance policy, ok… but I don’t want to see him impede the youngsters. I have mixed feelings about this. Power, yes. Versatility as far as baserunning, defense, hitting for average, making contact, no. Cheap, yes, especially for someone who hit 41 HR last year.
Can he cut down on the strikeouts and make better contact?
Full time player or platooned?
Let’s see what spring training brings…. and it isn’t too far away.