Matt Carpenter, a free agent left-handed hitter, was signed by the Yankees on Thursday. Carpenter was quickly added to the active roster as a result of injuries (the most noteworthy being Giancarlo Stanton’s slot.)
In 21 games with Triple-A Round Rock before his release, Carpenter hit .275/.379/.613 with five doubles, two triples, six homers, 19 RBI and 15 runs.
Carpenter, 36, has played in 1,329 regular-season games for the Cardinals throughout the course of his 11-year MLB career. Carpenter’s previous contract had a $18.5 million option for 2022, which the Cardinals bought out in November, allowing him to become a free agency. After failing to secure a promotion to the majors, he signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers and was released last week.
In his time with the Cardinals, Carpenter won a Silver Slugger, made three All-Star teams and got MVP votes in three different seasons, topping out at fourth in 2013. Last season in 249 plate appearances, he hit .169/.305/.275 (63 OPS+) with a career high strikeout percentage of 30.9. He was incredibly productive in 2018, but went progressively downhill in the next three seasons.
The Yankees entered Thursday at 31-13, the best record in baseball.
There are two pluses here. Carpenter is left-handed and there’s that short porch down the right-field line in Yankee Stadium where he could steal a few homers. There’s also the plate discipline. Notice even with the awful batting average last season that he still got on base at over 30 percent of the time. That is to say, if Carpenter posts an even remotely useable batting average, his on-base chops and possible uptick in slugging due to the ballpark would make him a productive addition.
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