The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

USA Today: Slugger Chris Carter, Yankees agree to terms on one-year, $3 million deal

Chris Carter, who hit 41 home runs in 2016, finally found a home Tuesday when he agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract with the New York Yankees, a baseball official directly involved with the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports.
The official was not authorized to discuss it publicly because the deal still is pending a physical.

  Carter was hoping to reach a multi-year deal when the Brewers non-tendered him in the offseason, fearing he would make at least $8 million in salary arbitration. Yet, the market dried up this winter for right-handed sluggers, and his major-league leading 206 strikeouts soured teams.

  Carter, who received several offers of $2.5 million to $3 million early in the winter, was running out of options and even considered going to Japan.

The Yankees, however, decided that they needed depth at first base with rookie Greg Bird coming off major shoulder surgery. He could wind up platooning with Bird at first base.

My first thought is, eh.  The terms are certainly reasonable and Carter doesn’t have to do much to be worth his contract, but I’d rather have seen what someone like Tyler Austin would do.  But this allows them to take it slow with Greg Bird if he’s not 100% yet, and possibly gives them a trade chip that can be leveraged in July.

Here are his 2017 CAIRO forecasts as a Yankee:

Percentile PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP avg obp slg br raa oWAR
80% 632 543 88 134 29 2 46 87 6 0 79 176 10 10 .247 .353 .562 107 31 4.2
65% 598 518 79 122 26 1 41 79 5 1 71 175 11 8 .236 .338 .526 92 21 3.0
Baseline 570 494 71 111 22 1 36 71 4 2 64 173 12 7 .225 .319 .491 78 10 1.9
35% 447 395 54 85 16 0 26 53 2 2 48 144 11 4 .215 .306 .455 55 2 0.8
20% 332 296 38 60 10 0 18 37 1 2 33 112 9 2 .204 .290 .420 36 -4 0.1


He projects as a below average defender at 1B or LF, but not atrociously bad.

Honestly, it’s a good contract and should have surplus value, even if it’s not an ideal fit given the current roster of the Yankees.  But I am completely unmoved by it.

--Posted at 5:15 pm by SG / 37 Comments | - (0)


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It’s hard to get too pissed about such a small deal, especially when DH is so iffy for the team. It has some upside at such a small price. Especially since Carter is a bad defender, and thus being a full-time DH should help.

Still seems odd that they’d spend $3 million on Carter and not $8 million on Hammel, though.

I’m keeping my outrage level high.

So wait, let’s see what the offensive roster looks like right now (presuming a 12-man bullpen)...

C Sanchez
1B Bird
2B Castro
SS Didi
3B Headley
LF Gardner
CF Ellsbury
RF Holliday
DH Carter
BUC Romine
OF Hicks
OF Judge/Austin
BUI Torreyes/Refsnyder (I’d probably go Torreyes over Ref due to his excellent defense and ability to play third)

I guess my only slight concern here is, with Carter on the team, does Judge really have a clear role? Or should he just get to play regular minutes in the minors, and then have Austin on the MLB roster because he could play first? I really don’t know the answer. Heck, Refsnyder might even be a better bet than Austin/Judge due to his ability to play multiple positions.

Its probably the $8 mill for 2018 that kept them from signing Hammel.  Next year (its always next year) is the year they’re trying to get under the luxury tax threshold.

But with A-Rod and CC’s money coming off the table, they should be able to get under and still spend $8 million on a #3 starter, no?

[3] Maybe Judge will split time with Holliday in RF.
Bird/Austin/Carter will man 1B.
Holliday and Carter will DH.

I can’t imagine that Judge won’t get significant playing time at least penciled in.

Austin must be starting the season in AAA.

Looks to me like Ref is the odd man out.  That’s OK. Maybe they can get something back for him in a trade. Or, maybe he as options and can be sent down. It does leave them with only one backup who can play SS, 2B and 3B.  That seems inconvenient, but not fatal.

They’re helped by the fact that Castro can play short if something happens to Didi. So it’s fine to have Torreyes being the only guy who could cover second and third.

I think there’s probably a deal for a starting pitcher involving Austin in the works.

Austin + for ?

10. IPK?

Seriously though, a half-decent youngish starting pitcher would make sense.

The Yankees are not going to trade Austin because the have Carter. They need cheap players to get under the tax threshold in 2018. And it’s not like a 27 year old prospect is going to net a solid SP.

Austin is absolutely not trade bait.  He’s the third piece.

IPK, Melky, and Clippard for Miguel Cabrera. I’m not trading Hughes or Joba, sorry.

3.5 mm doesn’t seem like too much to pay to insure against either a Judge or Bird implosion.  The likelihood of one of them sucking next year is probably higher than the Yankees are comfortable with.

[15] It’s not, but it seems like it creates a roster crunch and the Yankees will have to carry at least three 1B/DH types and only one of which can play the OF.

What sucks is that they have to play him enough for him to have any trade value.

For 3.5 million?  That’s little over a million for each true outcome.


I don’t think it would create much of a roster crunch.  If Judge can’t outperform Carter, he’ll get sent down.  If he does outperform Carter, then great.  In that case, Carter either gets released, rides the pine waiting to take over at 4 positions (1B, RF, LF, DH) in case of injury, or gets traded.

And again, it’s 3.5 MM.  Low risk, low-moderate reward.

This team always had a righty bench bat. That’s what I view Carter as.

Carter is not replacing Judge.

The Yankees value defense. Carter is a hilariously bad OF, he makes current Beltran look like a Gold Glover. Carter is a 1B/DH.

He’s Bird/Austin/Holliday insurance. Maybe he’s Judge insurance in that Austin would likely end up inheriting some of Judge’s playing time if he can’t hack it (split with Hicks).

Not a big deal either way, this feels like the Yankees saw $3.5MM as an offer they couldn’t refuse for a guy with 41 HR’s.  Maybe they think he can create some fan excitement with his AB’s, but they haven’t had much success bringing in these buy-low 1B/DH types.

Austin and/or Refsnyder seem like the odd men out, but we should remember that Gardner has been on the trade block, so maybe that opens up an OF spot.

I would slot my excitement level somewhere between Josh Phelps and Travis Hafner.

I will take all the Judge insurance I can get.

I don’t really get the assessment that this a bad move. If used right - let’s just say as a platoon DH vs LHP where Gardner gets a day off and Holliday plays the OF, Carter looks pretty valuable.


I have a feeling it’ll be Judge on the roster in the OF with Carter at 1b opposed to Bird on the roster and Judge in AAA.

I imagine Carter would only play v lefties, but who knows.

I just find the moves this offseason kind of bizarre.  If they want to pretend to contend, they should have signed a starter.  Going with all the kids as starters suggests a rebuilding year.  In that case Austin is a perfectly fine bench bat and can play multiple positions to boot—not well, but he can go out there.  If Carter is Bird insurance—like maybe he’s still hurt andthe Yankees aren’t saying—then you’re committing to a player who can’t really play the field.  Not that Austin is great in the field, but even if Bird IS hurt, Carter is clearly only a stopgap.

And the signing of Chapman makes no sense if you’re, ahem, transitioning—if they didn’t trust Betances to close, there were other cheaper options who were all good enough.

Put another way, a platoon DH is not something you have a lot of room for in the era of 12 man bullpens.

The Carter signing finally broke UJD.  Cashman’s plan finally has come to full bloom.

[29]  Randy Levine!  He’s the Yellow King.

I totally forgot that Randy Levine is the Yellow King.

Charles Oakley ejected from the Knicks game? Crazy.

[3] One can only hope Ellsbury gets hurt right away, Gardy plays CF and Judge gets some OF ABs.  But Holliday in LF is pretty scary.

MLB is planning on testing out a new rule in the Gulf Coast League where extra innings would begin with a runner on second base. That sounds insane.

[34] I sort of understand the concern about game length/pace, but the MLB seems to be taking this problem much more seriously than it merits. People are still going to games and watching games. The MLB is making money hand over fist.

Games could be sped up, but I don’t think adjusting extra innings is going to make a significant difference.

[34] Welcome to the soccer generation. Next up: extra innings batting off a tee.

They will probably find a way to trade him straight up for a 2.6 WAR player making $650K

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