The Yankees announced they had signed Matt Carpenter to a big league contract. The veteran infielder was released from a minor league deal with Rangers a week ago. Carpenter is a customer of SSG Baseball.
New York also announced that they have decided to go left-handed Manny Banuelos on the big league squad. The Yankees had opted for an outfielder Estevan Floral and left-handers JP Sears to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to vacate two active roster spots last night.
Carpenter was one of the best hitters in the game for a good portion of his tenure with the Cardinals. From 2012 through 2018, he had above-average offensive counts every season while earning a trio of All-Star selections. He received a Silver Slugger Award in 2013 and was twice in the top ten of the NL MVP contest. As recently as 2018, Carpenter had posted an excellent .257/.374/.523 slash with 36 home runs.
However, it has gone downhill sharply in recent years. By the time he was in his mid-30s, the left-hander experienced a dramatic decline. Going back to the start of the 2019 season, Carpenter only owns a .203/.325/.346 mark in just over 900 plate appearances. He continued to draw walks at a robust 13.3% clip, but that was essentially the only positive in his offensive game. He fanned out on 27.9% of his plate appearances, posted a below-average ISO of 0.143 (slugging minus batting average) and hit just 0.270 on balls in play.
St. Louis bought out Carpenter at the end of last season, and he was limited to minor league offers over the winter. The 36-year-old has been open about the need to reinvent himself at the plate and he recounted some changes he made with Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal in February. The former TCU star signed a no-roster pact with Rangers shortly after the lockout and showed some signs of a turnaround.
In 21 games with Triple-A Round Rock, Carpenter averaged .275/.379/.613. He hit six home runs while continuing to hit many free passes. Perhaps most encouragingly, he brought his strike rate down to a below-average 21.1%. Texas didn’t feel like he had a path to play at the Big League club, but the Yankees will give him an opportunity to try to carry over his strong work in the minors against MLB pitching.
Carpenter started exclusively at first base for Round Rock, but has plenty of experience at both second and third base in the majors. He expects to see some time at all three spots in the Bronx and offers manager Aaron Boone a left-hander off the bench. The Yankees have Anthony Rizzo on first base but right-handed Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu and Josh Donaldson See actions at the other positions.
LeMahieu has not played in a few days due to a left wrist complaint and is a hitter-designated Gian Carlo Stanton was put on the injured list last night with an ankle infection. Carpenter doesn’t have the defensive versatility of a Utilityman Marwin Gonzalez, but he could bring a little more punch to the plate. Deployed in New York Rough smell in a similar role last season.
As for Bañuelos, he is back in the big leagues for the first time since 2019. The 31-year-old will make his first appearance in pinstripes, a debut many fans anticipated a decade ago when the southpaw was with the Yankees. best prospects. Unfortunately, he had some injury troubles on his way up the minor leagues, and the Yankees brought him to the Braves ahead of the 2015 season. Bañuelos played seven games for Atlanta as a rookie and then did not play in MLB until he made 16 games with the 2019 White Sox.
Between those two seasons, the Mexican native pitched 77 innings with 6.31 ERA balls. He spent a few years outside of football, including in Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League. Bañuelos returned to the United States in a minor-league deal with his original organization in the winter and he’s earned his way back with a strong start at Scranton.
Across seven appearances (five starts) for the RailRiders, Banuelos has a 2.35 ERA through 30 2/3 innings. He has about average strikeout, walk and groundball marks and will likely add multi-inning arm to a losing bullpen mix Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga and Aroldis Chapman recently injured.
The Yankees had two vacancies on their 40-man roster, so no further move was needed right now. However, Donaldson will need a 40-man spot when he is ready to return from the COVID-19 injured list. Rob Brantly, recently designated for assignment, deleted the full waivers and assigned Triple-A. The veteran has the right to refuse the assignment in favor of free choice after a history of open acknowledgment.
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