Last month Brian Cashman said that he was "99.9 percent sure" that the Yankees were done for the offseason. This year’s free agent market was weak, but the Yankees made upgrades in the bullpen and the lineup by signing Aroldis Chapman and Matt Holliday. Cashman also made a few trades happen, including a big one that sent Brian McCann to the Astros. Not long after the ink on Chapman’s contract dried, Cashman indicated that the Yankees were out of spending money. With few decent options left on the market, it made sense that the Yankees would call it an offseason. It therefore came as somewhat of a surprise when the Yankees signed Chris Carter earlier this week.
Carter inked a one-year deal worth $3.5 million, and his role is expected to be limited. He is primarily a first baseman, though he has played his fair share of left field. He can also be a good option at DH when Matt Holliday needs a rest day. Carter may not be the most capable defender, but he gives the Yankees a bench player who is a power threat. In 2016 he hit a whopping 41 home runs with the Brewers, and only five players in baseball hit more homers than Carter last year. Despite that, the Brewers decided that it wasn't worth it to bring Carter back for another season.
On the plus side, this is a very low-risk contract. There is very little money on the table, so it wouldn't be a huge loss if Carter is awful and the Yankees are forced to eat the contract. There are also a few incentives in his contract that will kick in only if he exceeds a certain number of plate appearances. Unless there are some awful injuries and the Yankees become desperate, Carter will only get those plate appearances if he is playing well. Best case scenario? Carter hits 30 home runs and the lineup looks better than it has in years. In the worst case scenario, Carter strikes out eight times in one game and the Yankees cut him.
The team already knows that Carter hits home runs and does just about nothing else, and the lineup could really use that power. Gary Sanchez was a home run machine last August, but he's expected to come down to earth. While Aaron Judge has potential, no one really knows what to expect from him. Tyler Austin is a question mark as well, and Rob Refsnyder did not hit particularly well last year. There are also the injury histories of Greg Bird and Matt Holliday to take into consideration. It would not be ideal to have Austin and Refsnyder manning first base if Bird and Holliday happened to go down with injuries. Carter's defense can't be as bad as Ref's, right?
Although this is such a cheap contract, it seems that a lot of Yankees fans are unhappy with the deal. Do you agree with the Yankees' decision to sign Carter? Weigh in on the poll below and let us know in the comments section.