The Yankees designated reliever David Carpenter for assignment on Wednesday afternoon before their game against the Seattle Mariners. They had to remove someone from the 25-man roster because Masahiro Tanaka was coming off of the disabled list to start today’s game.
The Yankees received Carpenter and Chasen Shreve from the Atlanta Braves when they traded Manny Banuelos. Carpenter has really struggled this season as he had a 4.82 ERA in 18.2 innings pitched this season. He pitched very well in 2013 with the Braves finishing the season with a 1.78 ERA and 0.990 WHIP in 65.2 innings, but he has been progressively worse since then.
Carpenter had 11 strikeouts and seven walks this season, which is not a strikeout to walk ratio that leads to success. He gave up the go-ahead run in the sixth inning last night, which could have been what sealed the deal for him. It is possible that he is one of those players that was just not able to handle the pressure of playing for the Yankees.
The Yankees opted to keep Jacob Lindgren on the roster instead. He made his debut on May 25 and has a 4.15 ERA in four appearances. Besides his appearances on May 29 when he allowed two runs on three hits, he has pitched 3.1 innings while not allowing a hit and striking out four.
Lindy, as Girardi calls him, had a dominating 1.23 ERA this season at Triple-A Scranton, and the lefty has the ability to improve the bullpen. Lindgren is known for his fastball and his slider is his strikeout pitch.
David Carpenter, who is a 29-year-old right-handed relief pitcher, was traded to the Yankees from the Atlanta Braves with Chasen Shreve for former top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos on January 1. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 12th round of the 2006 draft, and he has previously pitched in the majors for the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and Braves.
Carpenter is currently on a one-year, $1.3 million contract. He had the best season of his career in 2013 when current Yankees catcher Brian McCann was still on the Braves. During the 2013 campaign, Carpenter was the team’s top set-up man and finished the season with four wins, 12 holds, a 1.78 ERA, 65.2 innings, an impressive 0.990 WHIP and a career-high 74 strikeouts. He was able to have an All-Star caliber season after not making his Braves debut until May 10.
He started the 2014 season as the team’s set-up man, but he ended the season nearly allowing double the runs that he did in 2013. He had a much higher 3.54 ERA and allowed more earned runs (24 and 13 in 2013) in 2014, but he did have more holds (19) than he did in in 2013. Also, his strikeouts/9 innings (9.9 in 2014 and 10.1 in 2013) and walks/9 innings (2.4 and 2.7) were virtually the same, which proves that he hasn’t lost much from 2013.
McCann gave the Yankees a “strong endorsement of his former Braves teammate, which could mean that their chemistry will lead to Carpenter allowing closer to the amount of earned runs he allowed in 2013 than the amount he allowed in 2014. Either way, Carpenter will be an upgrade over Shawn Kelley, who had a 4.53 ERA for the Yankees.
Carpenter is known for his blazing fast fourseam fastball, which means that he will give the bullpen another power pitcher to go with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Justin Wilson. The other pitch that he relies on to get outs is a slider (86mph). He also has a change (90mph), but he doesn’t rely on it as he only threw it 18 times last season. He will be another pitcher in the bullpen who the Yankees will be able to count on to get strikeouts.
He will mostly be pitching in the seventh inning since Betances and Miller will be the eight and ninth inning combo, but Carpenter has four career saves and is capable of closing if Miller and Betances are not available. It could take him some time to get used to pitching in the AL East and Yankee Stadium, but he will likely have a bounce back season and come close to the pitcher he was in 2013.
The Yankees will have an elite bullpen if Carpenter comes close to the pitcher he was in 2013 and Betances and Miller pitch like they did last season.
The Yankees kicked off the New Year by trading a former top pitching prospect for two pitchers who can have an impact on their bullpen this season. At about 5 p.m. on Thursday, the Yankees traded Manny Banuelos, who was a top prospect before his Tommy John Surgery, to the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees received David Carpenter, who was the top set-up man for the Braves the past two seasons, and the emerging reliever Chasen Shreve.
Trading Banuelos now makes sense but it would not have made sense a few years ago. Before he missed the 2013 season due to Tommy John Surgery and had an inconsistent 2011 and 2012, he was one of three up-and-coming starters in the organization who along with Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman were known as the Killer B’s. They were expected to all be productive starters in the Yankees rotation. Banuelos, is no longer a top pitching prospect as he was surpassed by Ian Clarkin, Luis Severino and Brady Lail, Brackman has retired after many injuries and Betances was an All-Star in his first full season as a relief pitcher last season.
It is possible that Banuelos will still be an effective No. 3/4 starter, but it makes sense that GM Brian Cashman was able to trade him for Carpenter and Shreve who can help the bullpen be a strength of the team in 2015. The Yankees don’t really know what they will get from CC Sabathia, Nate Eovaldi or Chris Capuano, which makes having a deep and effective bullpen even more important.
Brian McCann, who caught Carpenter during his last season with the Braves in 2013, gave Carpenter a strong endorsement. In 2013, with McCann on the Braves, Carpenter had his best season as a pro as he pitched in 56 games, had a 1.78 ERA, 0.990 WHIP, 74 strikeouts (10.1 Ks/9 innings) and 20 walks (2.7 walks/9 innings). In 2014, his 3.54 ERA and 1.262 WHIP were a good bit worse than 2013, but his Ks/9 innings (9.9) and walks/9 innings (2.4) were the same or better than 2013. Carpenter’s fastball tops out at an impressive 99 MPH, usually throws between 95-96 and has a strong cutter & slider.
The Yankees traded Shawn Kelley about a week ago for an emerging minor leaguer from the Padres, and Carpenter’s stats should be much better than Kelley’s over the last two years. Carpenter, a 29-year-old Morgantown, West Virginia native who went to West Virginia University, will be playing in his fifth season and has previously pitched for the Houston Astros, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Braves.
Shreve, the other player the Yankees acquired, played at Double-A, Triple-A and with the Braves last season. The 24-year-old from Las Vegas who went to the College of Southern Nevada pitched in 15 games fro the Braves after his fast ascent up the Braves system and had a stellar 0.73 ERA in 12.1 innings. His 15 strikeouts led to an impressive Ks/9 innings of 10.9. Shreve, who was drafted in 2010, had a 2.67 ERA and 87 strikeouts during the 2014 season while pitching in 36 games for Double-A Mississippi and 10 games for Triple-A Gwinett.
Shreve pitched at Double-A for the first time in 2012 where he threw 18.1 innings in 11 games. earning a 2-1 record with an average 3.93 ERA. After dominating the opposition with a 2.75 ERA to start the season with the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats, Shreve struggled (4.43 in 42.2 innings) after pitching with Double-A once again. He was throwing his fastball between 86 and 90 MPH during the 2013 season and didn’t look like he would soon be promoted to the show.
After struggling at the beginning of the season with Double-A in 2014, he went to his pitching coach and said that: “I can throw hard if you want me to. I choose not to, I choose to spot up,” according to Chop Country. After the meeting with his pitching coach, his average fastball improved from 91 MPH to 94 MPH and led to much better results at Double-A and his promotion to Triple-A and the Braves. He will likely begin the 2015 season with Triple-A Scranton and a call up to the Yankees by July is a definite possibility.
It is possible that the Yankees gave up too early on Banuelos, but his 4.59 ERA in 16 starts at Double-A Trenton last season proves that it was worth upgrading the bullpen so another team could gamble on him. The Yankees bullpen is now likely complete for the start of 2015, and Betances, Andrew Miller, Adam Warren, Carpenter, Shreve, Justin Wilson, Esmil Rogers will all be able to make an impact and serve different roles. Jacob Lindgren, who advanced to Triple-A last season after being drafted in May, should also be called up at some point.
The additions of Carpenter and Shreve give the Yankees a bullpen that could be as effective as the one the Royals had last season where the game was effectively over in the sixth inning when the Royals had the lead. It is not known who will be the closer, but Betances and Miller could share the closer spot, and Carpenter is also capable of pitching in the ninth if they both need a day off.