The Yankees announced that they have traded recently designated right-hander David Carpenter to the Nationals in exchange for minor league second baseman Tony Renda. Outfielder Nate McLouth has been placed on the 60-day DL to accommodate Carpenter on the 40-man roster.
New York acquired Carpenter from the Braves this offseason on the heels of a pair of excellent seasons working as a setup man for Craig Kimbrel in the Atlanta bullpen. (That trade sent the previously vaunted Manny Banuelos to Atlanta and also netted the Yankees southpaw Chasen Shreve.) However, after posting a 2.63 ERA over 126 2/3 innings with 10.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 from 2013-14, Carpenter struggled quite a bit in his brief time with New York. As a member of the Yankees, the 29-year-old worked to a 4.82 ERA in 18 2/3 innings, striking out just 11 hitters against seven walks.
Carpenter maintained very strong fastball velocity with the Yankees, averaging 94.9 mph on his heater. He also posted a career-best 42.4 percent ground-ball rate and struggled with home runs, so perhaps the Nationals feel that a move back to a larger stadium in the National League will help to alleviate his troubles with the long ball. Of course, there will be additional work needed to sort out the righty’s control and restore his significantly diminished strikeout rate.
Carpenter is earning $1.275MM after avoiding arbitration this offseason, and the remaining $815K or so of that sum will be picked up by the Nats. If Carpenter is able to turn it around in D.C., the Nationals will have control of him through the 2017 season — his age-31 campaign.
The 24-year-old Renda, a second-round pick of the Nats in 2012, ranked as Washington’s No. 12 prospect this offseason according to Baseball America and currently ranks 22nd on MLB.com’s Top 30 list. BA praised his compact swing and line-drive stroke, noting that his bat has a chance to be above-average, and he’s tough to strike out. Both scouting reports agree that Renda lacks plus tools across the board but has outstanding makeup and work ethic. He’s not said to be a plus runner but has potentially average speed and is a “solid defender, capable of making the routine plays well,” per Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, though the duo does refer to him as an “offensive-minded” second baseman. Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel didn’t rate Renda among his top Nats prospects this offseason, but he did mention that the infielder has a good approach and advanced bat control despite a lack of power. In 228 plate appearances at the Double-A level this season, Renda has batted .267/.330/.340 with a homer and 13 steals.