SweetSpot: Frank Catalanotto

Mets hope 'The Animal' can spark attack

May, 11, 2010
5/11/10
4:06
AM ET
The Mets made a move and here's Mets Today's take:

    Chris "The Animal" Carter is finally a Met.

    Carter -- who had been acquired for Billy Wagner in a late-season 2009 deal with the Red Sox -- has been promoted to the big club. Veteran pinch-hitter Frank Catalanotto was DFA’d to make room for Carter on the roster.

    --snip--

    But this is about the Animal, who suits up on Tuesday in Flushing. With Scott Olsen starting for the Nats, it’s unlikely we’ll see Carter in the starting lineup, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a start on Tuesday against righthander Craig Stammen — particularly if Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur continue to slump. The outfielder corners would appear to be the only opportunity for Carter to get semi-regular playing time, considering how well Ike Davis is doing at 1B. Let’s hope he isn’t used the way Catalanotto was — strictly as a pinch-hitter. It would be a waste to give him only three swings a night. If given a chance, Carter might prove to be one of those late bloomers, in the same mold as Travis Hafner, Carlos Pena, and Nelson Cruz. We’ll never know until he gets a fair shot.

Carter, just a 17th-round draft pick (in 2004), blasted through the low minors in less than two full seasons, reaching Triple-A for good after only 205 professional games. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few short stints with the Red Sox, Triple-A is exactly where Carter has stayed. He's now played 539 games at that level, racking up 84 homers and a .305/.374/.499 line ... which is, it should be said, not particularly impressive.

But Carter is 27. If not now, when?

Unfortunately, by all accounts Carter's best position (by far) is designated hitter. Joe Janish might not want to see Carter reduced to merely pinch-hitting, but I can't see him getting much action in left field and nobody can see him beating out Ike Davis at first base.

Oh, and those late bloomers Hafner, Pena, and Cruz? All earned significant trials in the majors while still in their middle 20s, and all were even more impressive in the minors than Carter has been. That doesn't mean he can't do something like what they've done. It just means that time is running out. Unfortunately, he's with the wrong team in the wrong league.

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