As we head into February, Chris Carter’s winter continues to drag on. The slugger tied Nolan Arenado for the NL home run crown last season, but the Brewers non-tendered him, casting him into a market full of similar players, many of whom also still haven’t found new teams. Also, at least a couple recent signings (such as Mark Trumbo to the Orioles, Brandon Moss to the Royals and perhaps even Mark Reynolds to the Rockies) have seemingly foreclosed upon possible destinations for Carter. A variety of teams have been connected to Carter recently, and MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently listed some more speculative fits. Where do you think he might end up? Here are some possibilities, some admittedly more likely than others.
Rays. Tampa Bay recently came to terms with Logan Morrison, but is seemingly still interested in acquiring a right-handed bat. Carter would certainly qualify, although there are a number of other possibilities, including Mike Napoli, Franklin Gutierrez and Byung Ho Park.
Rangers. Texas has been strongly connected to Napoli, although no deal has been consummated yet, and Carter would seemingly work as a backup option. Scott Boras, meanwhile, is reportedly trying to sell the Rangers on signing another potential DH, Pedro Alvarez.
Marlins. Carter would give Miami a righty to pair with Justin Bour at first base, and the Marlins reportedly have had interest in Carter. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, though, recently pointed out that the Marlins don’t figure to spend much more than their current $110MM payroll, and wrote that the possibility they would sign Carter was “extremely remote.”
White Sox. The White Sox are only a speculative possibility, as there’s been little or no reporting connecting them to Carter. But the team has a clear opening at DH, and Carter would be a fun fit at homer-happy Guaranteed Rate Field.
Mariners. This is another speculative fit, and perhaps a less likely one, since the team has Nelson Cruz at DH and righty Danny Valencia said upon being acquired earlier this offseason that he expected to play first base (where he’ll presumably complement lefty Dan Vogelbach). Given Valencia’s ability to play other positions, though, and given that the Mariners have preferred to allow Cruz to play the outfield once a series or so, perhaps the Mariners could see an opportunity here, although that seems like a stretch.
Athletics. Incumbent A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso is coming off a very poor season, and the team could potentially use Carter at first and DH while also using Ryon Healy at those positions. The A’s tend to be opportunistic and haven’t been shy about making moves in February, although there’s been nothing specifically connecting them to Carter.
Japan. Carter’s agent, former Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart, recently said his client could consider offers from overseas, and Japanese teams would surely love to acquire a high-profile MLB hitter like Carter. And as MLBTR’s Adams pointed out, the Brewers were not able to find a trade partner for Carter when his projected arbitration salary was in the $8MM range, suggesting that he won’t be able to land much of a guaranteed MLB salary. Carter himself recently said his priority was to sign with an MLB team, however.
Other. There are, of course, more out-of-nowhere possibilities. Perhaps the Nationals could see a chance to upgrade at first, although one would think they’d have more interest in a left-handed hitter they could pair with Ryan Zimmerman, who’s controllable through 2020. Maybe the Mets could attempt to add Carter after Lucas Duda’s injury-plagued 2016 and Jay Bruce’s underwhelming stint with them, although it seems like quite a stretch to think that Duda or Carter would ever play the outfield, and the team could use Bruce or Michael Conforto at first if Duda’s back issues flare up again. Maybe the Blue Jays could see a chance to upgrade, although their acquisition of the lefty-mashing Steve Pearce complicates that possibility quite a bit. And perhaps Carter could even return to the Brewers, although that would have seemed far more likely had they traded Ryan Braun, whose departure could have bumped Eric Thames to the outfield. There’s also the possibility an injury could create an opportunity for Carter that we haven’t yet anticipated.
So where do you think Carter will go? (Link to poll for Trade Rumors app users)