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New York Yankees slugger Matt Carpenter made history on Sunday against the Cubs. But why didn’t the Cardinals consider a reunion?
Carpenter’s best seasons occurred in St. Louis, where he made three All-Star teams and finished top-12 in NL MVP voting on three separate occasions.
Yet, things turned sour around 2019, and two years later Carpenter was on the outs as a Cardinal. He signed with the Texas Rangers, but couldn’t find much playing time in Arlington.
The Cards never considered a reunion with Carpenter when he was released from Texas’ Triple-A team. But why would they? It’s not as though his old self had resurfaced.
The Yankees, however, did give him that chance — and they haven’t regretted it.
On Sunday, Carpenter made history, hitting his fifth and sixth home runs in just 10 games as a Yankee. He’s the first in team history to achieve that feat.
Should Cardinals have given Matt Carpenter a second chance?
This is a classic case of revisionist history. Had the Cards known Carpenter would play like THIS, then perhaps they would have given him a call. But there was no way to know about Carpenter’s incremental improvements. That came this past winter, when Carpenter discovered a glitch in his swing.
“I’m extremely motivated to keep playing, and not just keep playing,” Carpenter said, per The Athletic. “I don’t want to just fill a roster spot. I really feel like I’ve got more left in the tank to be a productive major-league player.”
As The Athletic notes, a phone call to Joey Votto, as well as a more analytical approach, helped transform Carpenter into the player we see today — a player who thrives on advanced statistics such a barrel percentage, exit velocity and more.
So no, missing out on Carpenter is not the Cardinals’ fault. The Yanks are merely benefitting from Carpenter’s hard work, and willingness to understand how to hit in a pitching-dominant era.