Former New York Yankees player we'll wish stayed: Matt Carpenter
Yeah ... yeah. The 2023 Yankees' bench just ain't what it used to be. Whether you agreed with paying Carpenter $6.5 million or not (which would've pushed the Yankees past an additional tax threshold and severely limited them at the trade deadline/angered the shareholders [who cares]), the fact remains that the Yankees are a bench bopper short.
Even removing the magic of his 2022 campaign and the redemption narrative, and while acknowledging that he had almost a 0% chance of repeating himself, the Yankees' bench has become a spot for also-rans in 2023, comprised entirely of players who didn't crack the lineup. Isiah Kiner-Falefa? Yeah, he's here by accident. Aaron Hicks? We don't have the stones to get rid of him, no. Kyle Higashioka? Best we can do at backup catcher, and don't you dare challenge that statement.
With Franchy Cordero starting most days and Josh Donaldson on the IL, the intrigue of Willie Calhoun might be the most attractive bench option. Forget playing matchups; there's almost no one to even bring about a baseline of excitement in pinch-hitting opportunities.
The other day, Aaron Boone even admitted he went with Kiner-Falefa off the bench over Hicks because he was looking for a single rather than on-base skills. A single is the current ceiling. Carpenter, even without the sheen of brilliance he carried during that majestic summer, would be a massive upgrade, and would provide the Yankees something they don't currently have.
At least he ended up on another contender. We fully endorse the ring chase. There's got to be a better ending to Carpenter's story than what he authored in last season's sad postseason.