While Greg Bird is hot, Chris Carter is just… not. The New York Yankees are getting more than they anticipated from an unlikely source.
Shoulder surgery can be debilitating, especially for a baseball player, and Bird’s bounce-back season raised some questions about his performance.
Fearing a setback in Bird’s progress, the Yankees went out and did what any normal team would do: go out and get a back-up with firepower in the form of Chris Carter.
Yet, the tables have turned. We are currently just nine days away from Opening Day and Greg Bird is looking more like Chris Carter than Chris Carter is.
That, my friends, is the beauty of baseball, you never know what you’re going to get. The Yankees got the 2016 National League co-leader in home runs riding the pine while Bird is launching moonshots in the starting lineup.
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It seems like these two have completely switched roles. Bird looks like he could easily lead the league in home runs. Right now, Carter looks like he’s the one coming back from a year off the sport and trying to get his timing back.
These two are polar opposites when it comes to what they are offering the team. Bird is constantly rounding the bases and completing stellar plays in the field. Carter, on the other hand, is batting .122 with only four hits this spring by swinging aimlessly and not recognizing the strike zone. These are habits that will make their way to the regular season.
With Bird’s resurgence and Matt Holliday’s strong showing so far at the plate, Carter has earned himself a spot on the bench to start the season. For a guy who slugged 41 home runs last season, that might not sit well with him.
Brought over on a one-year deal, Carter was anticipating playing a strong role on this Yankees team, helping power them to victory with the long ball. The problem? Because Greg Bird has jumped right back into a leading role without much downside, Carter will not be playing the hero.
Already in spring training, he has struck out in 54 percent of his at-bats. His perchance for strikeouts is well-known, but seeing that trend continue is disturbing.
Even worse, Carter has only blasted one home run this spring. His show of power was impressive, but not enough to eliminate all the times he’s whiffed at the plate.
The 30-year-old was used to getting the majority of the playing time out in Houston and then in Milwaukee. In New York, it’s a whole different story and we’re not sure if Carter will accept that.
He could’ve gotten a shot to play but Greg Bird’s dominance and Carter’s lack of dominance solidified his spot on the bench.
With the Carter signing, what could have been is now giving way to the reality of the situation; Carter will not be in an unfamiliar position and he only put it upon himself.
The excitement over Greg Bird has been the highlight of spring training. However, we can’t forget about what Chris Carter has the potential to do, even if he’s sitting on the bench.