Should Yankees bring back fan-favorite lefty batter?

matt carpenter, new york yankees
Aug 5, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Matt Carpenter (24) salutes the fans as he receives a standing ovation before his first at bat during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are focused on elite-level talent to compete for a World Series in 2024. However, it is important not to discount some of the smaller pieces that contribute toward a winning season. Let’s reflect back on 2022, a year that saw several low-key players become instrumental in the team’s postseason aspirations.

One lefty hitter that became a fan favorite was Matt Carpenter. Now 38 years old, Carpenter signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the San Diego Padres, but they traded him to the Braves several days ago. He was released on Monday by Atlanta.

The Braves were hoping to trade him for some assets, but they had to cut costs and allow him to hit the free-agent market. Now, Carpenter is able to sign anywhere he wants, and the Yankees could be interested in bringing him back.

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Should the Yankees Bring Back Matt Carpenter?

During the 2022 season, Carpenter played 47 games, but his season was cut short due to an injury from a foul ball off his foot. He hit .305/.412/.727, including 15 home runs, 37 RBIs, and a 218 wRC+. He was one of the team’s hottest hitters and clearly elevated his game, donning the pinstripes. Nonetheless, his season last year certainly didn’t replicate those metrics, hitting .176/.322/.319, hitting five homers with 31 RBIs across 76 games.

It is possible that Carpenter simply elevated his game based on the confidence he gained playing for the Yankees, and who’s to say that general manager Brian Cashman doesn’t want to bring that experience back at a cheap cost in 2024?

The question is, where would Carpenter feature defensively, if not offer a utility option at several spots? Given his lack of mobility, he could play some first base and help supplement several infield positions at a very basic level.

The truth is, the Yankees may prefer to stick with their younger alternatives and Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, and veteran DJ LeMahieu. They don’t necessarily need Carpenter, but he was a great story and his bat still has a bit of juice left.