Matt Carpenter backs Yankees Harrison Bader trade with take on former teammate


Still feeling blue about the New York Yankees inexplicably shipping Jordan Montgomery out of town for center field defense that we might not even see in 2022? Join the club! It’s miserable and now there’s more Domingo Germán on the horizon.

BUT … could surprise Yankee of 2022 Matt Carpenter make you feel a bit better about it? Come on, he’s just been so good! Doesn’t he have some pull on the fan base?

In all seriousness, Carpenter and Bader were teammates for five seasons in St. Louis with the Cardinals, and the veteran slugger got an up-close and personal view of the young speedster in action. And it all came full circle in their final year as teammates with the Redbirds in 2021 when Bader won a Gold Glove after appearing just 103 games. That’s how good he was.

Don’t try to dispute Bader’s potential impact on that side of the ball with the Bombers in front of Carpenter, either. The 36-year-old had some strong comments about Bader after the trade that might help Yankees fans forgive what appeared to be a major misstep by general manager Brian Cashman.

Bader might be average offensively (literally, with his career 99 OPS+), but his impact on defense since debuting in 2017 is undeniable.

Yankees’ Matt Carpenter speaks on Harrison Bader’s impact after trade

Objective journalism here! Still not saying it’s a good trade. Not defending the Yankees. Not saying Carpenter is right or that Bader will move the needle once he’s ready to play. But let’s take a look at some defensive metrics:

The most impressive accumulation of these metrics came in his three “full” seasons (2018, 2019 and 2021), during which he totaled 369 games. Throw in his speed (94th percentile in sprint speed and 79th percentile in outfielder jump) and that’ll help the Yankees on the bases, too.

As long as his foot’s healed and de-booted, of course.

The question remains, however: was this worth the price of an above-average starting pitcher and homegrown talent who would’ve no doubt helped put you in a better position for October? Montgomery might not have been slated to start playoff games, but eating innings and doing it damn effectively down the stretch in the regular season is a step below top-tier value.

For now, this is reality. And we’ll be in wait-and-see mode. But it helps that Carpenter, an immediate fan-favorite with no reason to be a mouthpiece for the front office, helped provide some positive commentary here based on his personal experience.