The Yankees officially signed slugger Chris Carter to a one-year contract on Thursday, adding depth to what should be an interesting first base/designated hitter mix in the Bronx in 2017.
The deal is worth $3.5 million for one year, MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reported earlier this month. The club designated left-handed pitcher Richard Bleier for assignment in a corresponding move.
Carter, 30, tied Nolan Arenado for the National League lead with 41 home runs this past season while also posting a career-best 94 RBIs for the Brewers. But he was non-tendered by Milwaukee in November after his significant power again came with mixed results.
Carter hit .222/.321/.499 with an NL-most 206 strikeouts in 2016, one year after hitting .199 for the Astros. He has averaged 33 home runs and 188 strikeouts per season since 2013, his first full year in the Majors.
With the Yankees, Carter was expected to compete for at-bats at first base with Greg Bird and Tyler Austin, but the Yankees announced on Friday that Austin fractured his left foot and will be out at least six weeks. Carter can also spell lefty-swinging Brett Gardner in the outfield against left-handed pitching. Carter posted an .875 OPS against lefties this past season.
Carter is also suited for the designated hitter role, though New York expects Matt Holliday, whom the club signed to a one-year deal this offseason, to see the majority of at-bats there. Whether Carter gets a chance probably depends on the health of Holliday, who turned 37 in January.
"I'm ready for whatever role they give me," Carter told the Associated Press earlier this month. "I know they have Holliday, and I know Bird is there, so I'm looking to help the team any way I can."
At first base, Carter's playing time will likely hinge on how comfortable the left-handed-hitting Bird, who showed promise as a rookie before missing the entire 2016 season to shoulder surgery, appears against southpaw pitching.
Bird hit .238 with a .752 OPS against lefties in 46 games in 2015, compared to .261 with 11 home runs and an .871 OPS (135 OPS+) overall.
Though Carter has found little success in limited opportunities as a pinch-hitter over his career (.133 average in 30 at-bats), much of his value to the Yankees could be in providing thump off the bench.
Carter is a career .218/.314/.463 hitter with 150 home runs, 374 RBIs and 875 strikeouts over seven big league seasons.
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.