Matt Carpenter hasn’t played in an MLB game since the 2021 season ended and has endured three straight terrible campaigns, which resulted in his release from the St. Louis Cardinals (and then Texas Rangers) before signing with the New York Yankees.
After missing nearly the first two months of the 2022 season, Carpenter was (literally) willing to do anything to get another shot on a big league roster.
Don’t believe us? He said it himself! After the Bombers brought him aboard out of nowhere on Thursday afternoon, Carpenter joined the team in Tampa Bay and was in the starting lineup for the series opener against the Rays.
The slugger spoke to reporters upon his arrival, revealing his excitement and claiming he would’ve loaded bags onto the plane if that’s what the Yankees needed him to do.
For a guy who was once one of the best hitters in the National League, that means a lot, especially with what feels like dwindling interest among higher-profile players to come to New York in recent years.
The good news is that Carpenter won’t be the Luggage Guy. The Yankees need a lot of reps to fill with DJ LeMahieu on the shelf with a wrist injury, Giancarlo Stanton on the IL with an ankle issue, and Josh Donaldson on the COVID IL.
Matt Carpenter is amped to join the New York Yankees
Turns out, he’s already proven to be more valuable than even a top-notch luggage handler. Carpenter got the start at DH on Thursday night and helped the Yankees cruise to a 7-2 victory over the Rays. He went 0-for-2 but worked a walk, got hit by a pitch, scored two runs, and moved runners on first and second to second and third on a groundout. Putting the ball in play, baby!
No wonder he was so eager to shave his beard for the first time in … six years?! He likely knew that even if he was tossing bags into the bottom of the plane that an opportunity was around the corner.
The lefty-slugging utility player (he’s logged consistent reps at first base, second base and third base since 2016) is looking to rediscover his swing and may have been on his way to doing so at Triple-A Round Rock with the Rangers.
If his positive attitude and coincides with his resurgence, the Yankees will have gotten themselves one of the steals of 2022.