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Yankee greed costs Carter his best shot

Aug 27, 2009, 11:29 PM EDT

For no other reason than to tweak their two biggest rivals, the Yankees stepped in Thursday and claimed Boston’s Chris Carter off waivers, preventing him from immediately becoming a Met as a player to be named in the Billy Wagner deal.
In so doing, they kept the Mets from adding a legitimate bat to their depleted lineup for the final five weeks. They’re also forcing the Red Sox to keep Carter on the 40-man roster for now, which will be a minor annoyance as they try to set up their September roster.
So, it’s mission accomplished for Brian Cashman and company. And caught in the crossfire is Carter, a soon-to-be 27-year-old first baseman-outfielder who probably won’t ever have another chance to establish himself like he would have received as a Met next month. The Stanford prospect is a career .304/.378/.507 hitter in 2,745 minor league at-bats, but he’s not a true slugger and he’s quite limited defensively. The Mets will have him next year, but there will likely be plenty of alternatives at first base and in left field by then. This was Carter’s chance, and it’s not going to happen for him simply because the Yankees saw some miniscule advantage for themselves.

  1. Kevin - Aug 28, 2009 at 12:37 AM

    Unfortunately this happens all of the time. Are you suggesting that teams should evaluate the impact to the individual player prior to making sound baseball moves? No one would get traded if they didn’t want to be. Players would be brought up to the major leagues whether they are ready or not, because it was best for them personally, not the team. Many teams have done this type of thing before. How shallow and insincere you are to blame one team. If you do not like the Yankees, don’t blog about them. My assumption is they would be fine. You probably would be left without material.
    Kevin

  2. Ray - Aug 28, 2009 at 1:19 AM

    Well said by Kevin in that first comment.
    Yes, this is an embarrassing piece. While it is unfortunate that Carter might not get an opportunity he sought, that is not of concern to the management of other organizations. Each team’s goal is victory, and it would be devastating to the game if opposing organizations made their decisions based on a rival player’s personal situation. Teams don’t even always (and with good reason) take their OWN player’s preferred situation into account when making transactions (See the Red Sox’s acquisition of Billy Wagner despite closer Jonathan Papelbon’s claim that the Red Sox might not be helped by the hard-throwing lefty reliever).
    Pouliot’s article seems like an opportunity to needlessly point fingers at and cause disdain for the Yankees, when in reality the practice he addresses is commonplace amongst all major league teams.

  3. Sam - Aug 28, 2009 at 1:24 AM

    But Kevin, that’s not at all the point. The point is that the Yankees, a team that had NOTHING to do in this transaction, stepped in and, by claiming Carter, prevented him from proving his worth to the Mets in September by forcing the Sox to wait until the end of the season to complete the trade. This did nothing to help the Yankees, and did little to hurt the Sox (the one spot on the 40 man roster the Sox can’t fill anymore doesn’t really matter THAT much). What’s the point?

  4. Matthew Pouliot - Aug 28, 2009 at 2:01 AM

    Are you suggesting that teams should evaluate the impact to the individual player prior to making sound baseball moves?
    When it doesn’t equate to wins and losses? Of course they should, and they often do. Teams gives unneeded veterans a chance to pursue other opportunities when they don’t have to. Teams will carry “injured” 30-something veterans on their DL rather than release them in order to help them gain necessary service time to set up their pensions. 12 other AL teams saw no need to stand in Chris Carter’s way when he had a chance to go play somewhere. These things happen all of the time.
    Obviously, the Yankees aren’t in this to wreck Carter’s big chance. They knew that would be a side effect, though.

  5. paul - Aug 28, 2009 at 3:53 AM

    Great chess move by the Yankees. A sacrified pawn for the Sox and Mets. Sour grapes by this writer.

  6. Dave - Aug 28, 2009 at 9:13 AM

    Why is everyone up in arms and/or confused about the reason the Yanks did this?
    The only reason the Yanks claimed carter was because he is on the Red Sox 40-man roster.
    Big yawn…the Yanks were right to do this…they are fighting tooth and nail with the Red Sox…every advantage counts…it has nothing to do with the Mets, who will get Carter once the season is over.
    The only real downside is not seeing Carter get at-bats with the Mets in September–then again, he also won’t be part of the Mets 2009 injury brigade.

  7. Danny - Aug 28, 2009 at 9:17 AM

    Paul:
    People aren’t pawns and this isn’t chess … I suspect you would feel differently if you were collateral damage – a byproduct of some trivial decision that, as Matthew points out, equates to zero in the win column.
    Truly a classless move by that reflects poorly on the Yankees.

  8. Ray - Aug 28, 2009 at 9:36 AM

    Dave’s comment above is right on the money.
    Carter personally really has nothing to do with it. The Yankees did something to cause difficulty for the Red Sox. the Sox would (and should) do the same thing if it were the other way around. Hindering (within the rules, of course)anything for your fiercest rival, no matter how minimal, is worthwhile. Of course teams give aging players a chance, but not if it will hinder the team’s success (See John Smoltz).
    Aside from that, the Mets are a complete non-factor in the Yankees’ decision to claim Carter. It doesn’t help the Yankees at all to prevent the Mets from attaining a career minor leaguer for a few weeks.

  9. Fernando - Aug 28, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    I have no problem with the Yankees claiming Carter. If the Sox want to clear up a 40 man spot, let the Yankees have him and give the Mets another player. There’s no rule, written or unwritten, that says you can’t claim a player to affect another team. It’s been done for years.
    Speaking about unwritten rules, how about pointing out when the Red Sox twice broke unwritten rules with Japanese baseball. First, they claimed Kevin Millar off waivers when Florida already had a deal with Japan to send him there. It is an unwritten rule that clubs don’t claim players when other teams have agreed to send them to Japan.
    And how about this offseason, when again the Red Sox broke unwritten rules with Japanese baseball by signing Tazawa. There has been a gentleman’s agreement that only players posted would be eligible to play in the USA.

  10. Stultus Magnus - Aug 28, 2009 at 10:13 AM

    Give me a break, what’s the big deal with the Yanks claiming Carter? Every team does this, blocking trades is part of the business. I’d like to see the author of this article respond to some of these comments, like the one Fernando posted.
    Plus, as somebody else posted, he saved Carter from the ’09 voodoo hex that’s been placed on Citi Field.
    Carter would surely tear a hamstring or fracture his hand before the season ends if he went to the Mets.
    You’re welcome, Carter.

  11. Kevin - Aug 28, 2009 at 11:08 AM

    Danny,
    Normally, I would agree with you that people are not pawns, but unfortunately in sports that is exactly what they are. Let me give you an example, your favorite team is fighting for the playoffs and they have a player that is 1 week short of vesting for next year, but hurting the team with their performance. Your team can send the player down and bring another player up who is performing well. This one move could be the difference between a playoff spot and heading home early. What do you want them to do? Who comes first the team or player? You decide!

  12. Sean - Aug 28, 2009 at 12:22 PM

    Everyone defending the Yankees here is insane. The only people affected by this are Carter and Met fans who would have liked to see him take a few AB’s in the majors. Don’t pretend like that isn’t the only reason they did this – to annoy the “other team in NY”. Some of you Yankee fans will truly defend anything this team does.

  13. Gary S - Aug 29, 2009 at 2:07 PM

    As soon as baseball became a business, it became a disgusting reflection of our regressing culture.

  14. John Galvin - Aug 30, 2009 at 6:38 PM

    Did someone say great chess move? I thought they meant great cheesy move.
    Please – stop with all the “do everything to win and get an edge stuff”.
    This was a move that did nothing but annoy the Mets and Bosox – and keep Carter from getting some playing time.
    Amazing that an organization and fans that keep talking about being so classy are such jerks.

  15. Ray - Sep 3, 2009 at 2:07 PM

    John,
    Come on now. The Yankees do not get any joy from denying Carter an opportunity. He is not on their radar in any way except as a Red Sox player.
    It was strictly a move to hinder the Red Sox roster flexibility, even slightly. Do you really not see it that way?
    To point to the move being done solely to “annoy” Mets and Red Sox fans is delusional, and taking shots at the Yankees fans for supporting a smart baseball move is a bit silly.
    I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess you are a mets fan. A Red Sox fan would support the same exact transactional move if it were done by the Sox (as they should).
    Mets fans however find a way to play martyr, holding on tightly to the thought that everyone is out to “get” them or put them down. No offense to the Mets, who I have no ill will towards as a team in any way, but do you really think that the first-place Yankees are thinking about the Mets right now…at all?
    In this one-sided “rivalry,” the Mets fans track and critique every move the Yankees make. The Red Sox are the Yankees’ rival, which is why this move was made. I can’t speak for all Yankee fans, but I do not think about or pay attention to the Mets organization or their fans, ever. They are just another team. And not a particularly good one.

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