Padres Sign Matt Carpenter to One-Year Deal

Padres Sign Matt Carpenter
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The San Diego Padres and Matt Carpenter have reportedly agreed to sign a heavily-incentivized $6 million guaranteed one-year deal with a player option for 2024. Carpenter’s option for 2024 is also for $6 million plus potential incentives and salary escalators. Ken Rosenthal reported that Carpenter could earn up to $21 million at maximum over two seasons. That would raise the AAV from $6 million to $10.5 million, a 75% potential salary increase. From those terms, Carpenter will likely only opt out if he has a huge season in 2023 or if he has a decent season, but somehow his numbers do not trigger enough escalators to make him stay.

Prior to 2022, Carpenter’s career seemed to have been on the decline. From 2018-2021, Carpenter’s OPS was .897, .726, .640, and .581 respectively. At the same time, his home run and strikeout percentages both rose steadily. From 2018-2021, Carpenter’s home run percentages were 5.3%, 3.1%, 2.4%, and 1.2% respectively. At the same time, his strikeout percentages were 23.3%, 26.2%, 28.4%, and 30.9% respectively. One of the main contributors is Carpenter’s hard-hit percentage, which dropped from 47.7% in 2018 when Carpenter launched a career-high 36 home runs, to 32.6% in 2019 and 35.9% in 2020. That raised to 42% in 2021, his final season with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Carpenter put up relatively great offensive numbers in 2022. His slash line was .305/.412/.727 with 15 home runs in only 128 at-bats and 47 games for the New York Yankees. Carpenter’s OPS was 1.138, which is good enough for an OPS+ of 217. Additionally, his hard-hit percentage was the highest since 2018. Carpenter’s strikeout percentage was the lowest since 2017. His home run percentage was the highest it has been in his entire career. All of these things probably combined to make the Padres sign Matt Carpenter.

Padres Have Depth After Signing Matt Carpenter

After signing Xander Bogaerts earlier this offseason, the Padres have more depth. Carpenter has major league experience in both left and right field as well as at first, second, and third base. Carpenter even logged an inning and a third of scoreless pitching in 2021. He gave up two hits, and hit a batter while finishing a game. In case you are wondering, he did not earn the save. Carpenter figures to be a backup, or perhaps fill-in for the suspended Fernando Tatis Jr. Tatis was suspended for the end of the 2022 season prior to entering a major league game, and for part of the 2023 season for violating the MLB substance abuse policy.

Tatis is able to play shortstop, but the Padres plan to have him transition to the outfield. Ha-Seong Kim, who played shortstop so well in Tatis’ absence, will likely move to second base. Jake Cronenworth will be at first base and Padres superstar third baseman Manny Machado will remain at the hot corner. Trent Grisham, José Azocar, and star Juan Soto will return to the outfield in 2023. The beauty of the Padres roster is that they have multiple players that can play multiple positions. Additionally, signing Bogaerts and moving Tatis to the outfield provides the Padres with multiple options for DH. Grisham, Azocar, Soto, and Tatis could be in a regular rotation for outfield and DH repetitions with Carpenter providing rest.

Carpenter could provide rest at second base while Kim plays shortstop or takes a day off. He could also rest Machado if needed. So, Carpenter should be a valuable option for Padres skipper Bob Melvin to utilize during the long season.

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Players Mentioned:

Matt Carpenter, Xander Bogaerts, Fernando Tatis Jr., Ha-Seong Kim, Jake Cronenworth, Manny Machado, Juan Soto, José Azocar, Trent Grisham, Bob Melvin

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Chris Gray

Chris Gray

Chris is a writer, philosopher, and web developer. He is currently the Web Developer as well as an Editor and Contributor for SportRelay.

When Chris was young, he played Little League Baseball for years. In addition, he used to look at the statistics on baseball cards to compare the different players and trade the cards with his friends. As a teenager, he worked as a Computer Technician until he landed a position as a Network Administrator at a middle school in Los Angeles, California.

Feeling unfulfilled with a lack of education to combine with his work and life experience, he returned to school, obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from UCLA, and now spends his time writing, investing, thinking, programming, and enjoying baseball.

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