Not even going to pretend I get this move entirely. A guy who hit 41 home runs being available for $3mil isn’t something you normally turn down, but on a 1-year deal he’s going to take time from young players like Tyler Austin. Austin figured to get righty at-bats at both first and DH throughout the year, but with Carter on the roster Austin may be looking at time in AAA. This would slow the growth of a player that showed a lot of promise and has spent the last 3 weeks at the Spring Training complex, working on his glove.
There are a few theories as to why Cashman made this signing:
- We need pitching- Heading into this upcoming season our rotation is shaky at best. We have old guys and young guys and an Japanese guy that’s elbow could explode at any second. This isn’t ideal and is something that has been brought up several times, only to be shot down by Brian Cashman. Cashman has said that the right deal wasn’t out there at this time, but that may have changed. By signing Carter, Cashman could be looking at making a move on a guy like Gardner to acquire pitching and move Holliday to the outfield. The only problem there is that Holliday has had a tough time staying healthy in the outfield recently. Gardner is probably our most tradeable piece, and that could/would open up some time in the outfield for Austin until Clint Frazier is ready both on and off the field to handle New York.
- Someone is injured- This time last year, we didn’t know Bird was hurt. It is entirely possible that someone is hurt or not ready for the start of Spring Training and if anyone it could be Bird again. Austin hasn’t been amazing at first and if Bird were to be injured, Carter would make a great replacement.
- He’s going to hit 60 home runs- You tell me a guy hit 41 home runs in 2016 and you can get him for $3mil the next year, you don’t pass on that. He could play first, DH or come off the bench for all I care. $3mil is nothing to the Yankees and if you can get a guy that will hit the long ball and in turn excite fans during a rebuild. Plus when you look at his spray chart and add in Yankee Stadium’s fence, you can see that he can easily be a huge signing.
Honestly, it could be any of these situations, or Cashman may have just seen a good deal. Carter could turn into a valuable trade piece for a team looking to make a playoff run if the Yankees are out of it. Next thing you know, this questionable signing turns into a hot prospect from a team right on the brink making the playoff and we’re the fans acting like assholes at a parade.
However, I don’t see this as a situation where playing time is balanced between Carter, Holliday, Austin and Bird. These aren’t the old Yankees of the last few years that needed days off. These young guys need to play every day so we know what holes to plug with free agents soon.
PS: In 2010 Carter would have gotten $20mil a year for at least 5 years.
PPS: When Kelly Johnson signs the same deal with the Braves in like a week, look for Carter jumping off a bridge.