NL Home Run King Chris Carter to Yankees

By Christopher Saunders

Chris Carter_Newest YankeeNew York Yankees are adding the National League’s 2016 co-leader in home runs, Chris Carter — who swatted 41 long balls as a member of the Brewers — to their 2017 roster.

Despite that, Milwaukee elected to non-tender Carter in late November after it couldn’t find a taker for him via trade. Carter would have made a projected $8.1MM this year via arbitration if he wasn’t non-tendered by the Brewers.

One could say that in baseball terms the Yankees are landing him at a discounted rate after he sat on the open market for over two months.

The Yankees will be the fifth organization for the 30-year-old Carter, a 2005 White Sox draft pick who debuted with the Athletics in 2010 and has hit no fewer than 24 homers in any individual season since 2013, his first full campaign in the majors.

Along with his prodigious power Carter provides above-average patience, having drawn walks at an 11.6 percent clip in his career, which for a solely power hitter isn’t too shabby.

Power and patience aside, there’s no value to be found elsewhere in Carter’s game, as he has registered strikeout percentages in the high thirties and contact rate is well below average in each of his big league seasons.

Both his difficulty putting the ball in play and lack of speed have helped lead to a low batting average (.218) and underwhelming on-base percentage (.314) in 2,645 PAs.

Despite his defensive issues, Carter seems likely to be a prominent part of the Yankees’ equation at first base, as fellow free agent pickup Matt Holliday is set to be their primary designated hitter. The right-handed-hitting Carter is clearly a more established option than likely starter Greg Bird a lefty-swinger who could platoon with Carter.

It remains to be seen how Bird will bounce back after missing all of last season because of a shoulder injury. The Yankees also have another homegrown first baseman in righty Tyler Austin, but he has a pair of minor league options remaining and could head to the Triple-A level now that Carter’s in the fold.

Although Carter’s deal is only for a single year the Yankees have a couple of options with the slugger. One option is if he keeps up his pace of right handed thump a club in postseason contention could trade for him at the deadline.

Another option can be Yankees keep Carter the entire year and possibly through the 2018 season because he still has another season of arbitration eligibility remaining.

If New York wanted to do so questions over New York’s recent “youth movement” would be asked from a number of standpoints, namely being at-bats for young players Aaron Judge, Bird, and Austin.

For now, he’ll join catcher Gary Sanchez, Holliday, Bird and outfielder Judge as the Bombers’ best power threats.

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