matt carpenter ikf yankees
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The Yankees are struggling right now. After blowing a ninth-inning lead to the Guardians on Monday, they’re 15-15 and sitting alone in the AL East basement. They’ve been ravaged by injuries, making the bottom of New York’s lineup look like a black hole. Do you know who could’ve helped with that? Utility man Matt Carpenter.

It’s easy to criticize general manager Brian Cashman now. I mean, we don’t have the power to make these decisions and also have the benefit of hindsight. But then again, the fact that the Yankees even tendered Isiah Kiner-Falefa a contract last November remains a head-scratcher.

Even if they did want to retain him in case he was needed at shortstop, they could’ve non-tendered and then re-signed him to a cheaper deal than $6 million. Now they’re stuck with a super-utility guy who has barely played the outfield in his big-league career, and most certainly doesn’t hit very much. Meanwhile, Carpenter is having a decent start to his 2023 campaign with the San Diego Padres.

And if you compare his numbers to some current Yankees, he just might look like Babe Ruth:

If Carpenter were on the Yankees, his 144 wRC+ would be the best among players with at least 70 plate appearances.

This side-by-side comparison isn’t great, Bob. Some context is also needed.

IKF had just one year of team control remaining before hitting free agency this upcoming winter. His play in 2022 didn’t scream that it was necessary to keep him beyond this year (which he hopefully won’t be). Carpenter, a veteran entering his age-37 season, wanted to find a multi-year commitment. The Yankees clearly weren’t interested in that, so he got a one-year deal with San Diego, which also includes a player option for 2024.

So, yea — these were two very different situations for New York to make decisions on. But when we look at it side-by-side, it’s just another opportunity to get mad at Cashman for not waving the white flag on a failed trade so the Yankees could go a different route when building the roster. Especially since Carp could’ve played any position on the diamond outside of pitcher, catcher, shortstop, and center field for the Bombers.

A lot has happened between November/December when these contract decisions were made and now. With the benefit of hindsight, would Cashman and the Yankees have made a different decision? Who knows. It’s not like there weren’t people out here saying re-signing Carp would’ve been a good idea.

Oh, wait – there was.

You can reach Matt Musico at You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.