Yankees: Four (More) Takeaways From Spring Training

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The Holliday/Carter Log Jam Must Be Broken Up

When the Yankees signed Matt Holliday over the winter, there were universal cheers of approval from fans of the team. When they signed Chris Carter, there was universal uncertainty about the wisdom of the move.

Nothing has changed. And if Spring Training could last forever, there would be no need even to be talking about this. But, something’s got to give between these two players. And soon.

Joe Girardi, with his penchant for veteran players, appears to be openly campaigning for Holliday, telling NJ.com recently:

"“He makes an impact on and off the field,” Girardi told NJ.com, “That’s what you want from players, especially with all the experiences that he’s been through in his career…playing in a city like St. Louis where you’re expected to win every year. I think he can have a huge impact on this club.”"

As for Carter, you’d have to look wide and far to find a similar commendation. But, Chris Carter can hit home runs. And that’s the choice in a nutshell.

The trouble, though, is that even if the Yankees wanted to dump Carter at this point, it’s not going to be an easy thing to do.

And it narrows down to making a choice because keeping both Holliday and Carter on the roster virtually eliminates keeping Rob Refsnyder as a utility player and backup first baseman.

The trouble, though, is that even if the Yankees wanted to dump Carter at this point, it’s not going to be an easy thing to do.

Remember, before the Yankees signed him, Carter was unclaimed by all of the 29 other teams in the league. Passed over once, what are the odds a team would want him now.

Which leaves the team in a position with no alternative but to release Carter, eating his $3 million salaries for 2017.

Assuming Holliday stays healthy, he will get the bulk of the playing time at first base, leaving Carter as the team’s designated hitter, or not playing at all. Adding to the log jam, Gary Sanchez is not going to catch six games a week and he will command time as the DH when he is not catching.

Adding to the problem will be finding at-bats for Tyler Austin when he is healed from a foot injury.

Typically, a team would say, and the Yankees have said, that this is a nice problem to have. But it’s not, and no one can predict the fallout in the clubhouse when Chris Carter finds himself getting splinters from sitting on the bench five times a week.