Since signing Aroldis Chapman and Matt Holliday this offseason, the Yankees have fallen silent on the free agent market. The team’s front office has stated that those contracts have put them just up to their allotted budget and there is no money left to sign anyone else. Despite this reality, some rumors have been heard here and there about the Yankees taking interest in someone, even if it hasn’t been that serious. Now we are hearing that they have some level of interest in Chris Carter.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting that the Yankees are keeping tabs on Chris Carter, which likely means they are checking in on his contract demands at this point. Carter is the reigning NL home run leader but is still without a job just a week before pitchers and catchers arrive in spring training.
The likely cause of this status is the fact that he really can’t do much of anything outside of hitting home runs. Even after hitting 41 dingers on the season, he was still worth less than one Win Above Replacement. Arbitration projections had him earning something around $8 million in 2017, causing the Brewers to cut ties with him instead of paying for a highly flawed player.
The #Yankees are keeping tabs on Chris Carter and have had discussions with his rep, Dave Stewart, sources say.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) February 7, 2017
Outside of his ability to generate elite levels of power, he can’t hit for average, doesn’t have much of an ability to get on base, and just struck out over 200 times last year. He is also terrible in the field at both first base and the outfield. Still, 41 home runs has to be alluring to someone in this market.
Despite these rumors, as Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk states, none of this makes any sense. The Yankees are already over the luxury tax threshold, meaning any contract they do sign will accrue a 50% tax, which has made them unwilling to sign players they need more than a mindless home run machine. His market is non-existent at this point, and as Calcaterra postulates, this could be an attempt by his agent, Dave Stewart, to drum up interest with a “rumor.” Might be time to find another agent, dude.
He may end up having to settle for a minor league deal, but are the Yankees the organization to sign with when it will be hard for him to find playing time? They just signed Holliday to be the team’s primary DH, and they have Greg Bird and Tyler Austin ready to compete for playing time at first base. The Yankees even picked up Ji-Man Choi to presumably serve as the everyday first baseman at Triple-A Scranton, so where would Chris Carter fit in?
I have wanted the Yankees to sign Carter all offseason, if only just for the dingers, but it just doesn’t make much sense at this point. If they can convince Carter to DH down in Triple-A, please do it. He will get a chance somewhere, eventually, so why not?