If any team is looking for a power hitter in the free agent market, they just got extremely lucky. The Milwaukee Brewers have decided not to tender first baseman Chris Carter a contract, making him a free agent.
If you’re surprised that the Brewers would non-tender the National League co-leader in home runs instead of keeping him, that’s because it is surprising. Carter hit 41 home runs in 2016, tied for the NL lead with Nolan Arenado, and his OPS was .821. But there are a few downsides to retaining Carter for another season. He only hit .222, which is pretty bad (even with those homers), and he struck out 202 times, second in all of baseball. He’s also due around $9-$10 million in arbitration this winter, which is a lot to pay a guy who only hits .222.
The Brewers could afford his price tag, though. They may be a small market team, but their only major financial commitment for 2017 is Ryan Braun, and he might not even be on the team to start the 2017 season. So the question here isn’t really affordability, but value. A team like the Brewers, who are still in the beginning of a comprehensive rebuild, can definitely afford to keep Carter around, but considering how the team is probably going to do next year, they don’t really need to. And it’s apparent now that they don’t want to, either.
If anyone’s worried about what the Brewers will do at first base, they’ve already filled that particular vacancy with Eric Thames. (Remember him?)
As if it wasn’t interesting enough that Thames played his last three years in Korea, the Brewers scouted him in an unconventional way.
Milwaukee isn’t spending any time wondering if they did the right thing with Carter, they’re just plunging ahead with a plan in hand. The Brewers’ loss is another team’s gain, though. With this offseason’s free agent market pretty slim, a power hitter like Carter will draw a fair amount of interest.
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FOX MLB Analyst Frank Thomas and Big League Stew’s Mike Oz explore a pack of 1991 Donruss baseball cards.
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