New York Yankees: How Long a Leash Will Chris Carter Have?

New York Yankees backup first baseman Chris Carter is off to a rough start in 2017. How long will he have to turn it around?

Eleven games into the 2017 season, the New York Yankees sit at a healthy 7-4 record. Winners of six straight, the team has gotten offense from a variety of contributors. First baseman Chris Carter, though, hasn’t been part of the win streak.

Through 22 at-bats, the 30-year-old Carter is hitting .182 with zero home runs and three RBI. That’s not the type of production the Yankees were hoping for when they signed the slugger to a one-year, $3 million deal this offseason.

However, everyone knows that Carter isn’t someone who hits for average. He’s always been a high-strikeout, high-power threat in any lineup he’s been featured in. So far, he only has eight strikeouts. That’s a pretty good number when you consider he led the National League in strikeouts with 206 last season.

Most worrisome for the Yankees, though, is the fact that Carter’s lack of offense hasn’t offset Greg Bird‘s horrific slump. Bird, the primary starter at first, is hitting .038 on the season with zero home runs and zero RBI.

The plan was to have Carter as a designated hitter and backup first baseman in case Bird needed rest. It’s safe to say the Yankees weren’t expecting to give Carter 22-at bats this quickly in the season.

Given manager Joe Girardi‘s history of trusting veterans for a long time despite mediocre performance, there is enough reason to think that Carter will continue to see scattered playing time throughout the season.

Even if Carter continues to struggle, it’s hard to see the team releasing him, as the team lacks a clearly better alternative.

However, when utility-man Tyler Austin returns from injury, there could be something. The gritty 25-year-old could definitely steal some at-bats later in the season, assuming Bird is out of his slump and Carter continues to disappoint.

Either way, Chris Carter will stick around for a while, even if he continues his below average production. If he picks it up while Bird slumps, something interesting could be brewing in the Bronx.

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