Contrasting fates of four former Yankees showcase baseball’s unpredictable nature

Former Yankees left fielder Aaron Hicks

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On Monday, the San Diego Padres made the decision to exclude former Yankees player Matt Carpenter from the lineup for their game against the San Francisco Giants. Due to his recent struggles at the plate, Carpenter, who had been serving as the designated hitter (DH), had gone hitless in his last five games, accumulating an 0-for-11 record.

Consequently, the San Diego Padres opted to replace him in the lineup on Monday. Taking his spot was Rougned Odor, another former New York Yankees player. Odor had a productive performance, going 2-for-4 with a double and scoring a run in the team’s 7-4 loss.

The 29-year-old began his Major League Baseball (MLB) journey in 2014 as a member of the Texas Rangers. During his career, he achieved the milestone of hitting 30 or more home runs in the seasons of 2016, 2017, and 2019. Additionally, in 2019, he led the American League with 178 strikeouts.

In April 2021, the Texas Rangers made a trade, sending Odor to the New York Yankees. During his time with the Yankees, he participated in 102 games and achieved a batting average of.202. He hit 15 home runs and recorded 100 strikeouts. In the following season of 2022, Odor played for the Baltimore Orioles, where he took part in 135 games. He maintained a batting average of.207, hitting 13 home runs and driving in 53 runs.

This offseason, the San Diego Padres acquired former Yankees infielder Carpenter, who is 37 years old. In the previous season, when Carpenter played for the New York Yankees, he had an impressive performance. He achieved a batting average of.305, hitting 15 home runs, driving in 37 runs, and boasting an outstanding OPS of 1.139. 

Unfortunately, Carpenter faced difficulties due to injuries. Upon his return from a broken foot during the playoffs, he struggled, managing only one hit in twelve at-bats and accumulating nine strikeouts in six games. In the current season with the Padres, his performance has been below par, as he currently holds a batting line of.181/.297/.333.

Matt Carpenter is with Aaron Judge at Yankee Stadium on May 26.

According to Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Padres manager Bob Melvin views Carpenter’s struggles were part of a broader team issue. He mentioned that early in the season, Carpenter had some impressive at-bats and even led the team in RBIs at one point. Melvin compared Carpenter’s situation to the team’s overall performance, highlighting the need to build momentum and string together consecutive wins. He expressed confidence that both the team and Carpenter would eventually find their rhythm and perform at a higher level.

Former Yankees left fielder Aaron Hicks is on a roll

In an important matchup, the Baltimore Orioles made significant progress in closing the gap with the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East after Aaron Hicks‘ outstanding performance in the game. It resulted in four RBIs to secure the Orioles’ victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night, stood out. Aaron Hicks played a crucial role by hitting a home run in the first inning and driving in four runs. The Orioles’ 8-6 win brought them within four games of the Rays in the competitive American League East division.

Since joining the team on May 30, Aaron Hicks has been on fire, with a batting line of.340/.444/.604 in 17 games. His impressive performance came at a crucial time when Cedric Mullins was placed on the injured list with a right groin strain. Hicks’ contributions have been significant, including a powerful three-run home run that left his bat at an impressive exit velocity of 104.4 mph. 

This marked his third home run in 53 at-bats since joining the new club. Prior to his release from the Yankees on May 26, Hicks had only hit one home run in 69 at-bats and had a relatively low .524 OPS for the season.

Aaron Hicks is in a refreshing mood during the Yankees spring training and after failing to hit against the Phillies on April 4, 2023.

Hicks said that he didn’t have many opportunities in New York, but he understood the circumstances he was in. He acknowledged having a challenging year previously and now sees the current opportunity with the new team as a chance to excel and make the most of it.

The left fielder conveyed his positive experience with Baltimore, stating that it has been an incredible time for him. He mentioned how the team had welcomed him since his arrival and expressed his happiness at being able to play consistently every day, which he found enjoyable.

The former Yankees player’s homer contributed to a four-run first inning, which marked the Orioles’ most productive start to a game this season. In the second inning, Anthony Santander also hit a two-run home run off Tyler Glasnow, the Rays’ starting pitcher. It was Glasnow’s first time since 2018 that he pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up six runs in a single start.

Former Yankees left fielder Andrew Benintendi on the negative side

The Yankees are facing the frustration of their fans as they lack a reliable left-fielder after Andrew Benintendi‘s departure. However, Benintendi’s performance in 2023 has been described as “OK, but not great.” In 281 plate appearances, he has a batting average of.274, an on-base percentage of.343, and a slugging percentage of.357. 

andrew benintendi ny yankees
AP

He has hit one home run, driven in 18 runs, scored 34 runs, and stolen nine bases. Considering that he is in the first year of a five-year, $75 million contract, it appears that the former Yankees player has not lived up to the high expectations placed on him.

Benintendi’s performance this season has been disappointing, as he currently has a career-low slash line of.265/.336/.349. What’s even more concerning is that he hasn’t been able to unleash his power, despite playing in one of the most homer-friendly ballparks in MLB. However, there was a glimmer of hope when Benintendi broke his 291-day home run drought by hitting his first home run of the season on Friday night in Seattle.

On Friday, the former Yankees player finally put an end to his longest homerless streak, which had lasted for 245 at-bats and 64 games at T-Mobile Park. Despite breaking the drought, the highest-paid player in White Sox history, who signed a five-year, $75 million contract, had a modest performance, going 1-for-4 at the plate. Unfortunately, his efforts weren’t enough to secure a victory for his team, as they ended up losing 3-2.

Chicago manager Pedro Grifol commented on his left fielder’s home run, expressing his appreciation for the achievement. Grifol mentioned that there is a specific reason why Benintendi hasn’t hit many home runs, although he chose not to disclose it at that moment. He acknowledged the significance of Benintendi getting that first home run, as it would relieve the pressure and criticism he has been facing from others.

After an impressive All-Star season in 2022, the former Yankees player joined the White Sox during the recent offseason. On Saturday, he displayed his skills by going 4-for-5 with a double, a walk, a stolen base, and a run against the Mariners.

Before Saturday’s game, Benintendi had only recorded two games with multiple hits in the past 30 days and 26 games. Not only did he end that dry spell, but he also showcased his speed by stealing second base in the last three games. With this steal, Benintendi has now accumulated nine stolen bases for the season, marking his highest total since the 2019 season.

Baseball’s unpredictable turns make these four former Yankees navigate diverging paths.

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