Remember Matt Carpenter? WB Mason-lookin’ fella who said he’d unload boxes if that’s what the Yankees wanted him to do when he joined the team at the end of May? Then he started homering every single day, and it was like, “Oh, he should definitely not be unloading boxes.”
Since Carpenter tattooed the Cubs just before the Yankees’ schedule got difficult, he’s been glued to the bench, typically batting only in the least desirable scenarios, as a last-ditch attempt at the tying run before the ninth inning expires.
Carpenter, red hot prior to his disappearing act, should not be used this way. Hell, no one should be used this way. Anyone whose intended usage pattern is “almost never” should probably not be occupying a big-league roster spot.
Preferably, Carpenter would be playing more consistently in Josh Donaldson’s stead rather than looking for a new gig, though. There’s a clear path to playing time for Carp both at third base and in (gulp) left field, especially while Donaldson scuffles, and when he started in the opener of Saturday’s doubleheader — what do you know? — he rocked two more homers in Cleveland.
Instead, he’s mostly been mastering the art of chucking gum at a small hole.
Yankees’ Matt Carpenter has earned more playing time
Less than a month out from the trade deadline, the Yankees should be taking advantage of Carpenter’s bat while it’s still available to them. At the very least, they should be pressing a few different buttons while they have the luxury of an extended AL East lead to work with.
When pressed in the past, Carpenter has certainly functioned as well as/better than expected. On the season, the veteran still possessed a 1.178 OPS through the end of June. However, in the seven games that preceded July 1, he recorded just eight at-bats and a single hit. During the same stretch, Donaldson’s post-injury numbers continued to make him look like a more aggressive Joey Gallo. Was there really no justification for attempting a shakeup, however impermanent it may be?
As is often the case with Yankees folk heroes, some fans are taking the decrease in opportunities very poorly:
If Carpenter’s the first bat off the bench in case of emergency/a two-run deficit to the Astros during last licks, he should get a chance to reassert himself in the starting lineup and seek out the rhythm that made him a mythical figure in his first few weeks.
If the team has no intention of testing him out before the All-Star break, his time with the Bombers may turn out to be shorter than everyone expected when he was showing off the lumber in early June and making franchise home run history.
Apparently, that was worthy of a demotion.