So I wrote earlier this week about Chris Carter still being an unsigned free agent after leading the National League in home runs last season. I expected that someone would sign him before the season began, but it’s hard to know what was holding things up. Was he looking for a multiple year contract? Was he setting his salary sights too high? I haven’t see what might be known about that, but as a reminder, I said in that post:
Additionally, a player like Carter, who is not a fantastic fielder or base runner has limited use in the major leagues. Your “power hitter” can play limited positions in baseball, especially in the National League. You’re limited to first base, left field, and the designated hitter (in the American League only).
An AL team did sign Carter…the New York Yankees. The Yankees consistency have one of the highest payrolls in Major League so the money isn’t a major issue for them. They signed Carter for a one year, $3.5M contract.
Carter earned $2.5 million with the Brewers in 2016 and he could provide some pop to a Yankee lineup that needs it, especially after losing Carlos Beltran (22 home runs) at the 2016 trade deadline and Brian McCann (20 home runs) to a trade with Houston this offseason.
Economics are economics. What the marketplace (in this case MLB teams) values gets more money, and what the marketplace has a lot of becomes less valuable. Carter perhaps could have stayed in Milwaukee for a one year contract at $3.5M but by the time he and his agent were ready to go to that price/term the Brewers had moved on. There may have been a broader market for the power hitter earlier as well, but the longer he waited the less valuable he became because fewer teams were in the market for a hitter with limited mobility.
I was talking with a co-worker today about one of the things I like about following baseball. I get the “fix” on big negotiations and crazy deals and intelligent decision-making with zero responsibility. Additionally I get to see the results in a fairly short time span, when most of the work decisions I make take months and years to work themselves into results. Most of what happens in baseball, at least at the level I have been following, works out in hours or days, and at worst in a few months. We know already what happened to Chris Carter and that he’ll be wearing Yankee Pinstripes and showing up at their Spring Training in Tampa in just a few days. Likely he makes the big club and he’ll be playing against the Red Sox and Orioles in April..and may even get to hit a homer against the Brewers when they come to Yankee Stadium in July. I’m sure that would be fun for him!