Oh David Carpenter, we hardly knew ye. Instead of Jacob Lindgren being shipped back to Triple-A so that the Yankees wouldn't have to run with only two righties in the bullpen, Brian Cashman has set you free like a balloon on a windy day. There was so much hope when you arrived with Chasen Shreve in the Manny Banuelos trade. Two straight years with a FIP under 3.00 had made you a welcome addition to the post-Shawn Kelley world.
If only we knew.
It took until April 15th for you, David, to show the first signs of what some would begin to call The David Carpenter Experience. On that fateful day at Camden Yards, you were deployed to open the sixth inning and protect at 3-2 lead. This happened on the second pitch.
After allowing another hit and being ordered to walk Adam Jones, you would be lifted from the game. You were okay for the rest of the month. It was just a bad outing, no? Unfortunately, The Experience truly came into being on May 5th in Toronto.
Following that Russell Martin dinger, you got two outs from Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Smoak, then walked light-hitting Kevin Pillar, allowed an RBI double to Chris Colabello, and then an RBI single to Ryan Goins. The Yankees had entered that inning up 6-0, and suddenly it was a save situation with pinch hitter Jose Bautista coming up. Joe Girardi had to summon Andrew Miller to secure the final out. It was the beginning of the end. In the month of May, you had a WHIP of 1.93. You appeared in 12 games in May, and allowed either a hit or a walk in eight of them.
In low-leverage situations, your BB/9 was 2.03. In high-leverage situations, that shot up to 11.57. Before this season I halfheartedly dismissed the "too much pressure in New York for some players" narrative as oversimplification. Yet perhaps that's what happened to you? Was running the gamut of constant media scrutiny too much? I don't blame you if that's the case, David. There are some truly cruel voices in the press corps of the City that Never Sleeps. The fans are not innocent in this matter either. I'm not trying to throw blame at anyone for what happened during your tenure in pinstripes. It happens. Relief pitching is perhaps the most volatile job in all of sports. For many relievers, it's there and it's great and wonderful until it isn't. That may have been what happened with you, David. It happens to the best.
The good news is that you're still just 29. Given your track record of prior success, I'd be shocked if a team high on the waiver order in need of bullpen help didn't grab you and give you a job. Look at the A's. It's a smaller media market. If you find that something that made you a strikeout pitcher in Atlanta, you're the setup man. Perhaps going back to the NL East with the Marlins could be good for you.
It's no fun that things didn't work out with you, David. I don't hold it against you as a person. But there's no denying that The David Carpenter Experience, like The Kelly Johnson Experience and The Vernon Wells Experience before it, just wasn't for the best for any of the involved parties. Fare thee well, David Carpenter. Fare thee well.
Nicolas Stellini is a contributor at Pinstripe Alley, where he writes about the Yankees and covers the Double-A Trenton Thunder. His national coverage can be found at Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @StelliniTweets.