The Chris Carter Movement

In all the Jenrry Mejia hype, I haven’t spent a lot of time discussing the Mets’ 25th roster spot, which will ostensibly go to a left-handed bench bat.

According to Newsday’s David Lennon, the race is between Frank Catalonotto and Mike Jacobs, and Chris Carter has “no shot.”

Given the choice between the two, I’d take Catalonotto. Jacobs’ lone skill — his power — is not as valuable as Catalonotto’s combination of on-base ability and defensive flexibility. The Long Island native plays first base way more capably than Jacobs, plus can play the corner outfield spots and backup second base in a pinch.

It’s too bad if Carter really has no shot, though, because though he can’t boast the Major League experience of his competitors, he seems to blend a nice mix of their assets. He’s got power, as evidenced by the .493 slugging percentage he’s posted at Triple-A over the past four seasons. He can get on base, based on the .373 OBP he’s posted in that time.

And though he’s certainly no Keith Hernandez, he’s likely a better defender than Jacobs at first, and he can back up the corner outfield spots as well.

So why doesn’t Carter have a shot? Beats me. A bad attitude? Mental mistakes? His work ethic has earned him the nickname “The Animal” from Jerry Manuel, and he graduated from Stanford in three years.

Most likely, Chris Carter has no shot because Chris Carter is not a Major Leaguer. He only has 26 Major League plate appearances.

And that’s a funny thing.

What makes people Major Leaguers? Why is Mike Jacobs a Major Leaguer?

Mike Jacobs is a Major Leaguer because he was on the Mets’ 40-man roster and so got called up from Double-A at 24 in 2005 when Mike Piazza got hurt but didn’t go on the Disabled List. Jacobs hit a pinch-hit home run and then, when the Mets tried to send him back to the Minors, Pedro Martinez threw a hissy fit. So Jacobs stuck.

He went on a tear that lasted the rest of the season, and so from then on, Mike Jacobs was a Major Leaguer.

Maybe if Piazza didn’t get hurt, or if Esteban Loiaza didn’t leave that pitch over the plate or if Pedro wasn’t Pedro, Jacobs would’ve ended up in the Majors anyway. After all, he was crushing the ball in Double-A when he got the call. He had a .965 OPS. Mighty stuff.

But you know who else could crush the ball at Double-A? Chris Carter did. He posted a .960 OPS in his one brief stint there in 2005, then followed it up with four straight solid-to-excellent performances at Triple-A.

And so it’s not hard to imagine a situation in which Carter, and not Jacobs, could have been blessed with a timely opportunity, a whimsical ace and a month-long hot streak to carry him to four years of big-league fortune.

It was not that way, though. It was the other way. Jacobs is the Major Leaguer, Carter the career Minor Leaguer. Maybe the superior player and maybe the better fit for the Mets, but seemingly the less likely candidate for the Opening Day nonetheless.

Carter leads all Mets still in camp this spring with a 1.476 OPS. Of course he hasn’t had very many opportunities.

But I guess that’s just the thing.

There’s a movement brewing to get him on the club. I sense it’s in vain, and that it won’t be as loud as the movement to keep Jenrry Mejia off the club. Regardless, I’m on board.

And I’m not alone:

A poll on Amazin’ Avenue today on the matter yielded a shocking 80-percent support for Carter. Patrick Flood wrote a post a few weeks ago that touched on similar topics to this one and combined two of my favorite subjects: Quadruple-A players and The Clash.

Sign up. Join the movement. Free Chris Carter.

17 thoughts on “The Chris Carter Movement

  1. One of the reasons why I always liked and defended Aaron Heilman – he took the mound and warmed up to the title song of one of the best albums of all time, London Calling.

    As for Chris Carter, how long until Jerry pulls a Buddy Ryan and says, “All he does is hit homeruns”

  2. Also, Carter had guys like David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis in front of him with the Red Sox. Jacobs has played for the Marlins and Royals.

    I think if Carter was blessed to be in one of those organizations he could have made it.

  3. I’d trade Murphy, cut Jacobs and start Carter and if Davis forces his way up you have a much more valuable piece to trade- or if Frenchie falters you can insert him into RF.

    The point is Davis has the 1B spot in AAA so a guy like Carter needs to play and has one option. Granted they can start him at RF but for how long if Captain Kirk jumps to Buffalo (which I think he will) and Pridie and Fmart look solid.

    I guess I’d rather gamble with Carter than Murphy is my point.

    I’m also partial to cutting Tatis and keeping Catalano and Jacobs but they you have a righty batting issue.

  4. Absolutely – Carter should break camp with the Mets. The folks here are right – it’s all about opportunity. Jacobs got it. Murphy got it yet Carter is the most talented and hasn’t gotten it.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly! All he needs is an opportunity!!!!! It is really a SHAME that the Mets have not even given him a chance to play in many games. Every game that Carter has started in he has had multiple hits. Carter should be starting at first base.

    • Old-fashioned, small-market team salary dump, which saved them $3.5 million in salary last year plus signing bonus $ for the first round pick and sandwich pick they, instead of the RedSox, would have gotten this year by keeping Wagner and offering him arbitration.

      The players they got back were irrelevant. It was all about the $.

      • Yeah I figured that at the time but then I looked at Carters AAA numbers, and the fact he was blocked by pretty above average players for a long time, and his projections and thought “hey, maybe they’re onto something here”, but it seems more like they lucked into a solid player and don’t even realize it.

  6. You gotta feel badly for the guy. He showed up everyday in triple A and clearly took care of his business. He didn’t get discouraged even though he knew full well the Red Sox would never call him up. Then he finds out he’s getting traded to the Mets and that he’ll get an opportunity there. Then the Yankees claim him off waivers preventing the Sox from trading him to the Mets in September and preventing Carter from getting some MLB playing time. Then he finally gets to the Mets in the offseason and shows up and does all he can to impress and still can’t get a shot at the show. What more can you ask of a guy?

  7. Total dick move by Pee Wee Cashman, and the media just bought his nonsense excuse about doing it to limit the RedSox’s roster moves, although the RedSox had open spots at the time on their 40-man roster.

    Carter has a reputation of being a poor defender and a classic AAAA player. But from what I have seen this Spring, he has a nice compact swing. If whoever plays first this year is just a stopgap until Ike Davis is ready, why not give him a shot if Murphy struggles at all. A pretty strong argument can be made that he is a more advanced hitter right now than Murphy.

    • He has a reputation of being bad at first because he has stone hands, but his range is apparently pretty good in the outfield. And considering at this point GMjr is our fourth outfielder I’d say we could use outfield and first base depth.

  8. Burkhardt on Twitter a few minutes ago: CCarter can’t make it with Jacobs in his way.

    Why can’t someone in the media ask Jerry/Omar a very simple question: name one actual baseball skill that Jacobs does better than Carter.

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