Finding Space For Chris Carter


It’s been a rocky road for the big 1st baseman Chris Carter over the years, he always seemed to have major power potential, but he never seemed to get the opportunity to show that power.  Certainly a portion of the responsibility falls on the shoulders of Carter himself, he needs to force the issue and he really hasn’t.  But he got a pretty extensive opportunity last season and for the most part showed everyone what he’s capable of.  Although as the season progressed he seemed to lose his way, and almost all of his playing time.

Sep 25, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Chris Carter (22) hits a home run during the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

On August 1st his OPS was 1.057, by the end of the season it had dropped almost 200 points to .864.  When he was successful he showed incredible instances of plate discipline, spitting on pitches that the old Chris Carter would eagerly chase.  As he began to slump though he also began to revert to his old bad habits and he struggled badly.  Brandon Moss surged forward and took the starting job at 1st for good in 2012 as the team pushed towards the playoffs.

Every season the question about Carter was whether or not he would be able to hit Major League pitching, and overall in 2012 he did just that.  The A’s know they have an asset in Carter, his tremendous power can be tough to find.  So they need to figure out a way to get him at bats, and keep him from slipping into the same bad habits that derailed his 2012 season.

The A’s have a bit of a crowded lineup right now even though Jonny Gomes has left for Boston.  The acquisition of Chris Young from Arizona has created a surplus of outfielders, and it’s likely that whichever one of the group of Young, Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes, and Josh Reddick isn’t playing in the field will hit in the DH spot where Carter might normally fit in.

What we may see happen though in 2013 is the reemergence of the two headed monster at 1st base between Carter and Moss.  Both of them appear to be rather streaky hitters, so Bob Melvin may be well suited to simply play the hot hand.  Both of them may be able to protect one another from slumps and overall regression that may be suffered after breakout 2012 seasons.  In the Athletics case, you can’t make any guarantees about the lineup or roster makeup in 2013, it is up to Billy Beane to make sure there are contingency plans to account for every scenario, and he may already have that built in protection with Chris Carter.