Fans Rejoice as Yankees DFA Chris Carter
Chris Carter, last season’s National League home run champion, was relieved of his duties after last night’s walk-off victory against the Texas Rangers.
What Led to This Move
The team initially signed Carter to spell Greg Bird at first base, predominantly against left-handed pitching. After Bird’s ankle bruise in April, Carter was forced into action and has been lackluster, to say the least.
Coming off a 41-homer, 94-RBI season, Carter turned in just eight home runs and 23 RBI in 57 games this season. His batting average, always notoriously low, was at .204 and he struck out in over 40% of his at-bats.
The masses, as well as individuals close to the organization – such as Yankees play-by-play announcer Michael Kay – have openly wondered why the organization kept running Carter out there on a daily basis. Carter compounded his struggles of late by playing subpar defense, committing two of his three errors in June.
The Past Week
Manager Joe Girardi’s frustration with his struggling first baseman, and lack of alternatives, boiled over this past week. When asked, again, about his decision to keep playing Carter, Girardi said “It’s what we have.”
His sentiments were not a far cry from general manager Brian Cashman’s, but Cashman was more pragmatic with his recent comments on the matter.
“We’ve struggled at this position the entire year,” he stated plainly. Cashman later added that, “Carter’s had a better June, but as we look and evaluate Carter versus Austin versus any other alternatives, Carter still is the best alternative.”
Ironically enough, Cashman was correct. Carter had his highest batting average of the season, for a single month, in June. He also had more home runs and RBI this month as well, but that couldn’t make up for how poor this season has been as a whole for him.
When looking back on those remarks, one has to wonder what has changed in the past four days. It’s highly unlikely that Cashman, a proud and accomplished general manager, simply acquiesced to fan outrage.
After all, this is the same man that stood by Aaron Hicks during a putrid offensive season in 2016. Then again, Hicks was a younger talent with a high upside; Carter is far from that.
Cashman, and Girardi for that matter, will undoubtedly face questions about the team’s about-face on the slumping veteran this weekend. Their answers, while likely pre-planned and coordinated, should give the public a glimpse into the reasoning behind the decision.
The Yanks have already recalled Tyler Austin from Triple-A, presumably to fill the hole at first base. Bird got a cortisone shot this past week and still has no timetable for his major league return.
One can only wonder if this move would’ve effectively cleared space for Yankees top prospect Gleyber Torres to make an early major league debut, forcing Headley to play first base. Alas, due to Torres’ recent injury, the world may never know.
What we do know is that first base has been the Yankees least productive position offensively this year and that the trade rumors will only continue to swirl if the team remains in contention and Bird remains on the sidelines.