Yankees Should Scoop Up Recently Non-Tendered Chris Carter
A new candidate for the New York Yankees open DH job hit the open market on Monday as the Milwaukee Brewers non-tendered slugger Chris Carter.
Add one more to the pile of sluggers the New York Yankees are sifting through this winter to replace departed designated hitter Brian McCann in what Buster Olney of ESPN recently called a “flush buyers’ market.”
On Monday, the Milwaukee Brewers chose to non-tender first baseman Chris Carter rather than pay him the roughly $8.1 million MLB Trade Rumors projected him to earn via arbitration this winter.
The move comes as something of a surprise, as Carter is coming off a season where he led the National League in home runs with 41 and finished with a solid .222/.321/.499 (114 OPS+) batting line in 644 plate appearances.
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At 29, Carter is a power bat in his prime who played in an NL-best 160 games in 2016. His poor defense and baserunning limit his overall value, but he is still a useful player and should come on a reasonable one-year contract.
The decision to non-tender Carter seems to be a financial one more than anything. $8.1 million seems like a fair price, but the fact that Milwaukee subsequently announced that they had signed Eric Thames to a three-year $15 million contract indicated that they felt their budget was best spent elsewhere.
Carter has quietly been a consistently productive power bat the last four years, compiling a .219/.315/.470 slash line for Houston and the Brew Crew, averaging 32.75 long balls and 82 RBI per season. As an added bonus, he has experience in both outfield corners in his career, although that can be a little painful to watch.
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He would be a fine safety net/platoon option for Greg Bird as he eases his way back from shoulder surgery. He’s probably not a long-term solution at DH, but he could be an OK placeholder if the Yankees decide they don’t like the price tag of a big name like Edwin Encarnacion or Jose Bautista.