2:00 pm: The Padres have officially announced the signing.
12:52 noon: The Padres added some punch to their roster on Tuesday, reportedly agreeing to a two-year, 12mm deal with the veteran infielder/outfielder Matt Carpenter. Carpenter, an SSG Baseball client, can opt out of his contract after the 2023 season by declining the 2024 player option. The contract pays Carpenter a 3MM signing bonus and 3.5MM salary for the 2023 campaign, and he must decide on a 5.5MM player option next winter. He could also reportedly receive a $500,000 bonus for hitting 300, 350, 400, 450, 500 and 550 appearances over the two seasons of his contract.
Carpenter, who turned 37 last month, enjoyed one of the best rebounding campaigns in recent memory last season. A three-time All-Star for the Cardinals, Carpenter appears to be on the downswing after posting a combined .176/.
Last offseason, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal detailed how Carpenter reinvented himself, taking a data-driven approach to hitting and enlisting Joey Votto, Matt Holliday And a personal hitting coach as he refines his swing and his entire approach at the plate. The Rangers were so interested in him that they signed him to a minor league contract.
We often see stories of veterans making a difference later in their careers, but few have been as successful as Carpenter. After 21 games in the Triple-A league with the Rangers, Carpenter was released by Texas (badly) and signed to a major league contract with the Yankees, for whom he played a borderline comic .305/ .412/.727 Slashes. Carpenter hit 15 homers in just 154 appearances, and while the size of Yankee Stadium certainly helped him somewhat, he still hit six of those home runs and hit . /.506.
In short — and in rather spectacular fashion — Carpenter is baseball’s top hitter (with at least 100 appearances) in 2022. He leads all of baseball in slugging percentage, isolated power (slugging minus batting average) and wRC+ (217), is second only to Aaron Judge in on-base percentage and ranks 12th among all players. game. Carpenter’s “barrel” ball rate (as defined by Statcast) is top-notch, and his average velocity off the ball and slugging rate are above league average. There’s no realistic way to expect him to maintain that pace, but Carpenter has clearly reestablished himself as a viable major league slugger.
Unfortunately for the team and the players, a rejuvenated Carpenter knocked the ball into his foot in early August, causing a fracture that wiped out the remainder of his regular season. A predictably rusty Carpenter jumped straight back to the Yankees’ playoff roster, but went 1-for-12 with a stunning nine strikeouts between the ALDS and ALCS.
With the Padres, Carpenter emerged as the favorite for the DH job, even though the Yankees have him in two corner infield spots and two corner outfield spots in 2022. He’s also hit more than 1,900 innings at double base in his career, and despite his defensive metrics, limited work there in 2021 is ugly, to say the least. Still, he could be an option there in an emergency.
As predicted by Roster Resource, a deal with Carpenter brings the Padres’ effective cash payroll to more than $24.6 billion for the 2023 season and pushes their luxury tax ledger to nearly $267. The Padres have moved into the second tier of penalties, and given their third straight season in the deluxe series, every dollar in the second tier is taxed at 62% ($253MM to $273MM). Carpenter will therefore be taxed for the 2023 The campaign paid an extra 3.72mm in taxes.
AJ Cassavell for MLB.com first reported The parties have reached an agreement on a player option for 2024. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports on terms and financial details (Twitter Link).