Aaron Gash/Associated Press

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2017

After tying for the National League lead in home runs last season, first baseman Chris Carter has reached an agreement with the New York Yankees

Per USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale, Carter agreed to a one-year deal worth $3 million from the Yankees for 2017. Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball confirmed the news.

Carter had a career year with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2016, setting new highs in several key offensive categories. 

Chris Carter: Career Highs Set in 2016
122 Hits 115 (2014)
27 Doubles 24 (2013)
41 Home Runs 37 (2014)
94 RBI 88 (2014)
76 Walks 70 (2013)
Source: Baseball-Reference.com

Despite those numbers, Carter has struggled to find a significant market as a free agent. He does have a limited ceiling because he strikes out a lot, including 206 times in 549 at-bats last season, and was the third-worst defensive first baseman in 2016 by FanGraphs’ defensive value metric. 

Yet Carter is still a rare player with legitimate 40-homer power who can be plugged into the No. 5 or 6 spot in a lineup. He doesn’t need to make consistent contact to hit the ball over the fence.

Nightengale reported earlier on Tuesday the only offers Carter was receiving prior to signing with the Yankees were in the $2.5 million to $3 million range, so he at least found a deal on the high end of those offers. 

Since he was able to wait out the market, Carter found an offer from the Yankees that met what he wanted. 

It’s a smart risk for the Yankees to take. They are still rebuilding with an excellent farm system that is going to start producing a lot of talent this season, including outfielders Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge, so they don’t need to make big-money investments right now. 

Carter provides some stability to the lineup where he can split time with Matt Holliday at designated hitter and Greg Bird at first base. 

Bird is also coming off shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum that caused him to miss the entire 2016 season, so he may need time in the minors to find his timing before making an impact on the MLB club in 2017. 

The Yankees also have the luxury of dangling Carter as a trade chip when the deadline comes around in July and a contender is seeking power for its lineup. There is no downside for the Yankees with this deal, and Carter can join his new teammates in time for the start of spring training next week.

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