The Padres reportedly have signed Matt Carpenter, according to MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell.
The Padres and Matt Carpenter have agreed to a deal for 2023 with a player option for the 2024 season, per a source. Carpenter will play something of a utility role in San Diego — some 1B, LF, RF, DH and potentially backup 2B and 3B as well.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) December 20, 2022
The contract is reportedly worth $6 million for 2023 and guarantees $12 million if he exercises the player option for 2024.
Carpenter Padres deal guarantees $12M. $6M in 2023. $6M player option in 2024. Plus incentives,
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 20, 2022
All offseason, it has been clear where the Padres needed to upgrade. They need bats, especially ones that can play outfield. While Carpenter is not the perennial All-Star level player he was with the Cardinals, he showed last year with the Yankees that he still as some juice.
Let’s be honest. He is 37 years old. This is not a long-term solution or even a short-term solution for a plug-and-play outfield bat. Carpenter’s value comes as a utility player. He has logged at least 10 career games in left field, right field, first base, second base and third base.
Between 2012 and 2018, he was considered one of the best third basemen in the game, earning All-Star bids in 2013, 2014, and 2016.
Even last year, despite his age, he put together a strong, albeit short, stint with the Yankees. At 36 years old, he played right field, left field, third base and first base for New York while batting .305 in 47 games. He added 15 home runs, a 1.138 OPS and 217 OPS+. Of course, stretched over a full season, those are MVP-caliber numbers.
However, take some of those numbers with a grain of salt. Not only did he play less than 50 games, but he faded down the stretch and experienced health issues. He batted just .211 in August and played his last regular season game on August 8. He also benefitted greatly from the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium, as a lefty.
He did return for the postseason, where he went 1-for-12.
Since the start of 2020, he is batting .211 with a .748 OPS and 108 OPS+. His best days are behind him, but that does not mean he cannot provide some value for the Padres.
Make no mistake, this is a move for depth. He can be a great utility player and veteran presence. He seemed to be well-liked in the Yankees clubhouse. He also played in the 2013 World Series with the Cardinals.
Overall, this is a move to boost San Diego’s depth on the bench. If the Padres are counting on Carpenter to be an everyday impact player, they will need a time machine back to the mid-2010s. The best case scenario is he provides a spark off the bench and fills in where needed on the field to account for an injury.