The Yankees announced Thursday that they have signed free agent left-handed hitter Matt Carpenter. They immediately added Carpenter to the active roster, as there were openings due to injuries (Giancarlo Stanton’s spot being the most notable).
Carpenter, 36, has 1,329 regular-season games and 11 years of MLB experience and those all came with the Cardinals. Carpenter’s previous contract had an $18.5 million option for 2022 that the Cardinals bought out last November, making him a free agent. He signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers and was granted his release last week after being unable to earn a promotion to the majors.
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.
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.
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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.
The Yankees entered Thursday at 31-13, the best record in baseball.