Rapid Reaction: Yankees sign slugger Chris Carter to a one-year deal for $3 million

Seemingly out of nowhere, the Yankees have agreed to terms this afternoon with the 2016 National League Home Runs co-champion, Chris Carter. It was first reported this morning that the Yankees were kicking the tires on Carter, after an offseason in which interest in his services has been slow at best. 
Photo Via Getty Images 

Last week it was reported that Carter was contemplating signing a deal with a team in Japan after months on the open market with little to no offers in hand he felt comfortable with. That all changed today when Brian Cashman came calling.

Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the one-year deal is worth $3 million with a $500,000 signing bonus and up to another $500,000 in incentives based on plate appearances – with Carter earning $100k each at each of 250, 300, 350, 400 and 450 plate appearances.

Chris Carter is certainly a curious fit for the Yankees considering the fact that both the first base and designated hitter roles seemed to already be filled in Greg Bird and Matt Holliday, respectively, but he does offer some much needed pop to a Yankees lineup that is in need of home run power. 

Since becoming a full time player with the 2013 Houston Astros, Carter has mashed 29, 37, 24, and 41 home runs in each of the past four seasons. In addition to the obvious power he offers, Carter put up an 11.8% walk rate last season, which bested every single Yankee with enough qualifying at-bats.  Carter’s .277 ISO also paced the National League last year.

While Carter does struggle a bit with getting on-base (career .314 OBP), strikeouts (150 or more in each of the past four seasons) and offering below average defense at first, this signing excites me because the Yankees haven’t had a single player reach the 40 home run mark since Curtis Granderson in 2012.

Right now, Carter slots in best as a part time DH behind Matt Holliday and the right hand hitting part of a first base platoon with Greg Bird. He also provides some insurance at both positions in the event that Bird isn’t quite right after missing the entire 2016 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum, or if Matt Holliday is unable to stay healthy. Holliday might also be asked to play more in the outfield if Aaron Judge struggles in Spring Training and is assigned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start the season. The odd man out as a result of this signing, seemingly, is Tyler Austin, although much is still to be decided between now and Opening Day.

While many will criticize this signing as unnecessary and awkward due to Carter’s unclear fit, or as a reverse course of the youth movement the team has trended towards over the last six months, I personally cannot complain in any way getting a 40-home run guy on a one-year deal for just $3 million.

The Yankees lacked home run pop in a big way last year and adding Carter into the mix is the perfect remedy for last year’s power outage. Realistic projections for Chris Carter in 2017 are for him to play in 100-120 games, hit roughly 20-25 home runs, and wear down opposing starting pitchers with his patience at the plate. Anything extra is just gravy.

After an ice cold offseason, any move that adds talent to the 2017 Yankees comes as a very welcome surprise.

Article by: Andrew Natalizio


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