Chris Carter’s free agent saga finally came to a close yesterday as the slugging first baseman signed a 1-year, $3.5 mil deal to play for the New York Yankees in 2017. According to Buster Olney of ESPN, however, the Yankees showed interest in Carter as far back as the beginning of the offseason, when Carter was still a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Per Olney, the Brewers and Yankees discussed a trade involving Chris Carter this past fall that never wound up coming to fruition. The Yankees eventually decided to go a different direction and signed Matt Holliday to play at DH, and of course the Brewers were unable to find any takers for Carter before non-tendering him in late November.
Carter, who was projected to earn $8.1 mil in arbitration after hitting .222/.321/.499 with an NL-leading 41 home runs last season, lingered on the free agent market until a week before spring training. He was in search of a more lucrative deal, but wound up having to settle for the Yankees offer of a slight raise over his salary from last season with Milwaukee. He had even considered offers to play in Japan. Given the lack of interest in his services on the open market, it stands to reason that whatever return Milwaukee would have gotten for ‘Sleepy’ would have probably been a minor league player in the organizational depth category. Instead, the Yankees saved themselves some $5 mil from Carter’s arb projection by waiting out the market and didn’t have to give up anyone to acquire him.
Chris Carter had the same wRC+ as Wilmer Flores in 2016— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) February 7, 2017
Carter now seems set to backup at first base and designated hitter for New York, with incentives available in his contract based on how many plate appearances he makes during the regular season. He can be controlled for one addition season through arbitration, if the Yankees so choose.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs