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The many trades of new Yankee reliever David Carpenter

The former Brave is a strong addition to a team in transition

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

David Carpenter is probably most familiar to Yankee fans as the player that the Red Sox traded to the Blue Jays for manager John Farrell. But the righty has certainly been well travelled in his short big league career. He's been traded four times, picked up off waivers once, overcome command issues, and been suspended for throwing at Corey Dickerson (no wonder Brian McCann endorsed him; he plays the game the right way!).

Drafted in the 12th round of 2006 draft out of West Virginia University by the St. Louis Cardinals, Carpenter needed some time to get through the minors. In the Gulf Coast League, the Cardinals obviously struggled to figure out what to do with him- he both caught and pitched as late as 2008. By 2009, though, he was a reliever full time. Still playing A-ball, in 2010 he was traded to the Houston Astros for Pedro Feliz. Houston pushed Carpenter more aggressively than the Cardinals had, and he made his big league debut in June of 2011, having started the season in Double-A.

At the 2012 deadline, the Astros flipped Carpenter with J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon to the Blue Jays for a package of prospects. The Blue Jays then sent Carpenter along with Farrell to the Red Sox in October of 2012; because a player can't be traded straight up for a manager, Carpenter was the throw-in to make the deal possible. The Red Sox promptly waived him. It's hard blame Boston for being low on Carpenter. At that point in his career, his strikeout an inning stuff was sabotaged by command issues (4.4 BB/9).

The Braves, however, saw something they liked in Carpenter. They sprinkled their pitching fairy dust on him, and he cut his walk rate in half. At the same time, his improved control made him harder to hit. The last two seasons have been his lowest H/9 of his career (6.2 in 2013 and 9.0 in 2014).

From our friends at Talking Chop:

With a 95 mph average fastball and a slider he was able to rely on one out of every four pitches, it is easy to see why Carpenter succeeded [in 2013]. It is hard to understand why Carpenter was unable to locate his stuff up until this year, but the improvement in command proved pivotal in his breakout season.

In all, it looks like Brian Cashman traded away Shawn Kelley, then dealt an often injured pitching prospect for a slightly better version of Shawn Kelley. David Carpenter isn't going to make or break the Yankees' season (not like a Max Scherzer would), but he's a solid piece with a clear role to play.