The Yankees announced they had signed Matt Charpentier to a big league contract. The veteran infielder was released from a minor league contract with Rangers a week ago. Carpenter is a customer of SSG Baseball.
New York also announced that they selected the southpaw Manny Banuelos on the big league roster. The Yankees had opted for the outfielder Florial d’Estevan and left-handed J.P. Sears at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to clear two active spots on the roster last night.
Carpenter was one of the game’s best hitters for much of his tenure with the Cardinals. He posted above-average offensive numbers every season from 2012 to 2018, earning a trio of All-Star selections along the way. He won a Silver Slugger award in 2013 and twice finished in the top ten in the NL MVP ballot. As recently as 2018, Carpenter had posted an excellent .257/.374/.523 slash line with 36 homers.
However, things have deteriorated sharply in recent years. As he reached his mid-thirties, the left-handed hitter went into a dramatic decline. Going back to the start of the 2019 season, Carpenter owns just a .203/.325/.346 mark in just over 900 board appearances. He continued to draw walks at a robust 13.3% clip, but that’s essentially the only bright spot in his offensive game. He was fanned in 27.9 percent of his plate appearances, posted a below-average .143 ISO (minus batting average), and hit just .270 on balls in play.
St. Louis bought out Carpenter late last season, and he was limited to minor league offers over the winter. The 36-year-old has been candid about the need to reinvent himself on the plate, and he has chronicled some of the changes he has made with Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal in February. The former TCU star signed a non-alignment pact with Rangers shortly after the lockdown, and he’s shown signs of a turnaround.
In 21 games with Triple-A Round Rock, Carpenter posted a .275/.379/.613 performance. He hit six homers while continuing to draw numerous free passes. Perhaps most encouragingly, he reduced his strikeout rate to a below-average 21.1%. Texas didn’t think he had a path to playing time at the big league club, but the Yankees will give him the opportunity to try to continue his great work in the minors against MLB pitchers.
Carpenter started exclusively at first base for Round Rock, but has plenty of experience at second and third base in the majors. He thinks he sees time in all three places in the Bronx, offering manager Aaron Boone a batting left-hander off the bench. The Yankees have Anthony Rizo at first base, but right-handed batters Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu and Josh Donaldson see action at other positions.
LeMahieu hasn’t played in a few days due to left wrist discomfort and designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton is on the injured list last night with ankle inflammation. Carpenter lacks the defensive versatility of a utility Marwin González, but it could offer a little more punch on the plate. New York deployed Coarse odor 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 is set to make his first appearance in the stripes, a debut many fans anticipated a decade ago when the southpaw was ranked with the Yankees. better prospects. Unfortunately, he struggled with injury while working his way up the minor league ranks and the Yankees traded him to the Braves before the 2015 season. Bañuelos made seven appearances with Atlanta as a rookie and then didn’t pitch again MLB ahead of a 16-game stint with the 2019 White Sox.
Between those two seasons, the Mexico native threw 77 innings of 6.31 ERA ball. He spent a few years out of affiliate ball, including a stint in the Taiwan Chinese Professional Baseball League. Bañuelos returned to the United States on a minor league contract with his home organization over the winter, and he earned his comeback with a strong start in Scranton.
In seven appearances (five starts) for the RailRiders, Bañuelos has a 2.35 ERA in 30 2/3 innings. He posted about average hitting, walking and ground ball markings and will likely add a multi-inning arm to a losing bullpen mix. green chad, Jonathan Loaisiga and Aroldis Chapman to an injury recently.
The Yankees had two vacancies on their 40-man roster, so no additional moves were needed at this time. However, Donaldson will need a 40-man berth whenever he’s ready to return from the COVID-19 injured list. Rob Brantley, recently designated for assignment, cleared outright waivers and was assigned to Triple-A. The veteran has the right to refuse the assignment in favor of free will, having been squarely in the past.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.
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