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Twins acquire Chris Carter in minor league deal

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The first baseman with a little thump, not the former Vikings player.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v San Diego Padres
This is from spring training. Carter was never called up to the Angels.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Twins organization announced Tuesday night that they have acquired first baseman slugger Chris Carter to a minor league purchase trade with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He will report to Triple-A Rochester.

Carter — not to be confused with Cris Carter, former Vikings — was the NL home run king back in 2016, smacking 41 dongs that season for the Milwaukee Brewers. That feat garnered him little attention in free agency, but he eventually signed with the Yankees for $3.5 million in 2017. The Yankees released him half way through the season after hitting .201/.284/.370 with 8 home runs through 62 games. Carter then signed a minor league deal with the Athletics, and hit .252/.357/.511 with 9 home runs through 36 games.

Especially with the abysmal offseaon MLB had last winter, it should come as little surprise Carter, 31, was only able to get a minor league deal with the Angels to start 2018. Through 38 games with their Triple-A club, Carter hit .255/.333/.600 with 13 home runs. The Angels decided they didn’t need Carter, or something, so now he’s made his way to the Twins.

Is this a significant trade? Not really. Carter provides some more depth at first base, and can apparently play some outfield too. Obviously he has some power, but he strikes out a ton, and offers not much else.

What worries me the most about the Carter trade is what it might say about Twins first baseman Joe Mauer. Mauer hit the DL last weekend with a reported neck strain, but apparently the injury has also included the return of some concussion symptoms. The Twins may have been prompted to find more depth at first base if they felt Mauer will miss significant time. That would suck, as Mauer was off to a pretty good start for the season, hitting .283/.404/.355 with one home run and seven doubles while playing gold-glove caliber defense at first.

What I’m trying to say here is that hopefully the Twins are never forced to actually call Carter up to the big league club; but if they are, Carter is at least a better option than what they had before (Kennys Vargas — who’s hitting .206/ .312/.292 with three home runs — or Brock Stassi — who’s hitting .206/.312/.318 with two home runs).

If you’re wondering what the Twins gave up for Carter, it was just cash considerations a.k.a. money.