Skip to content

Nats get veteran reliever Carpenter from Yankees

Jun 11, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

Seeking an experienced arm to bolster a bullpen that has been made over several times already this season, the Nationals on Thursday acquired right-hander David Carpenter from the Yankees in exchange for minor-league infielder Tony Renda.

The Yankees had designated Carpenter for assignment last week after he posted a 4.82 ERA in 22 appearances, putting 28 men on base in only 18 2/3 innings. But the 29-year-old was a successful and key member of the Braves’ bullpen from 2013-14, with a 2.63 ERA, 1.121 WHIP and 141 strikeouts in 126 2/3 innings.

Carpenter’s struggles this season weren’t attributable to any arm issues — his fastball averaged 95 mph, same as the last two years in Atlanta — but the Yankees reached a point where they couldn’t count on him to serve as their primary setup man in front of late-inning relievers Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller.

“For whatever reason he never got on a roll for us,” manager Joe Girardi told reporters last week after Carpenter was removed from the roster. “At times it was a struggle. It was someone we expected to be a big part of our bullpen. He worked extremely hard, he was great in the clubhouse. It was just unfortunate.”

Carpenter is expected to join the Nationals sometime during this weekend’s series in Milwaukee. Once he arrives, the club will need to remove someone else from their bullpen to make room for him. The Nats already transferred outfielder Nate McLouth from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for Carpenter.

Renda was the Nationals’ second-round pick in the 2012 draft out of Cal-Berkeley. The 24-year-old second baseman was hitting .267 with a .333 on-base percentage, one homer, 23 RBI and 13 stolen bases for Class AA Harrisburg but was a long-shot to become a long-term contributor in a Nationals infield that currently includes Anthony Rendon, Yunel Escobar, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa, with top prospects Wilmer Difo and Trea Turner knocking on the doorstep as well.

Meanwhile, left-hander Sammy Solis completed his rehab stint from shoulder inflammation and was activated off the 15-day DL, then immediately optioned to Harrisburg.

  1. unkyd59 - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:04 AM

    Work your magic, McCatty! NY could be a great landing place for Renda…

    • Theophilus T.S. - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:08 AM

      +1. Posted the following on the previous thread:

      Renda may have some kind of future in NY. Yankees certainly have problems at 2B with Drew (who leads Desmond in HR, 9-5). If they can play Brendan Ryan at SS Renda may well earn a paid visit to the Bronx.”

      “Other shoe will drop” when Barrett is sent back to Syracuse.

      • pdowdy83 - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:17 AM

        I would be more inclined to think Taylor Hill goes down. Treinen becomes the long guy and Barrett, Carpenter and Janssen fight it out for set up duties from the right side.

      • Hiram Hover - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:28 AM

        Very surprised if it is Barrett. The ERA is ugly at almost 5 but that’s not such a great measure for relievers anyway.

        Everything else looks pretty solid. He’s almost 12 K/9 and only 2 BB/9. WHIP is 1.16. He’s let 29% of inherited runners score, which is just a tick over league average (28%), vs 36% for Nats BP as a whole.

        Plus, is there really much left for him to learn in AAA?

      • pdowdy83 - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:40 AM

        As Hiram noted Barrett is experiencing a bit of bad luck right now. His numbers are BETTER than last year other than ERA. While his strand rate is higher than last years his FIP and xFIP are 2.14 and 2.67. His K Rate is up and his BB rate is down. His BABIP is up about 50 points and his HR rate is high. Those should stabilize as the season moves along.

    • wearenationals - Jun 11, 2015 at 12:22 PM

      I like what McCatty has done with Matt Thornton when he arrived from NYY last year. Hope he does wonders with Carpenter, also.

  2. veejh - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    Throw some darts, see what sticks?

  3. hokiepokster92 - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:08 AM

    Nats dealt a prospect from an area of depth. Hopefully, Carpenter can regain the form he had with the Braves. The Nats could not hit this guy.

    • virginiascopist - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:19 AM

      My, how things have changed. This time last year, how many people would have described middle infield as an “area of depth”?

      • hokiepokster92 - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:22 AM

        That’s baseball. Roster situations are fluid (trades, player development, drafts, etc.). Neither Trea Turner nor Escobar were a part of the organization last year. Throw in a now-productive Espinosa and you have depth!

      • virginiascopist - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:31 AM

        Absolutely. All the credit in the world to Rizzo for so quickly turning a weak spot into a strength from which we can deal.

      • davebinmd - Jun 11, 2015 at 1:59 PM

        Let’s not leave-out Wilmer Difo with his big breakout last season. His emergence as a potential impact player at the Big League level had a lot to do with making Renda expendable.

  4. pdowdy83 - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:09 AM

    I can’t blame Rizzo for taking a proactive approach this year. He has not been afraid to call up top prospects to try and find something that worked and now he has pulled the trigger on a guy who had 2 solid seasons prior to this year. Maybe a return to the NL East will make him a useful middle reliever again.

    • rmoore446 - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:25 AM


  5. TimDz - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    Got new posted, but I am interested in what others think……

    If Desi continues his slide, do the Nationals even make the qualifying offer to him at the end of the year for fear he may accept it and try to rebuild his value?

    • npb99 - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:37 AM

      If his stats don’t improve, I don’t think they will. But I expect he’ll go on a tear at some point, improving his numbers enough to warrant interest as a ciming FA so they’ll likely end up giving him a QO. Disclaimer: this analysis is based on pure conjecture!

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:38 AM

      I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t. Worst case is that he accepts it, imho.

      • pdowdy83 - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:44 AM

        As infuriating as Desi can be I would take him next year on a one year $15/mm deal without hesitation. The qualifying offer is well worth the gamble in his case IMO.

    • scnatsfan - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:54 AM

      No way you take the risk of not getting that pick

  6. masterfishkeeper - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    Renda has always struck me as the second coming of Steve Lombardozzi: decent contact hitter, but no power, and not enough defensive skills to play anywhere but second.

    I like this trade, even though I usually dislike trading young talent.

    • Nats Fan Zee - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:38 AM

      Exactly why I don’t like this trade … Renda is a contact hitter unlike 1/2 the starting lineup. Slaps some hits, move runners with productive outs … yea, we don’t need that kind of contribution. We trade a 2nd round draft pick that is improving for a DFA’ed pitcher? I think we got the short end of this deal.

      • pdowdy83 - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:50 AM

        Renda is not improving. As a 24 year old at AA his numbers have dropped a good deal. He is decreased his OPS each level and he has now made almost as many errors this year at AA as he did all of last season. There is not a lot of room on a major league roster for a guy without positional flexibility unless they can hit for power in most cases. Renda dropped down the depth chart behind Difo and Trea Turner.

        There are also Christopher Bostick who has more pop with similar speed and is 2 years younger and Jason Martinson who has positional flexibility and some power and speed at AAA. Renda was highly expendable for a crack at a guy who was a good reliever as recently as last season.

      • pdowdy83 - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:53 AM

        And if Carpenter does regain his form he is making only $1.275mm this season and has two more season of team control.

      • Nats Fan Zee - Jun 11, 2015 at 12:27 PM

        Disagree. And besides, do you really think that we have the elasticity in the BP or rotation to take on another project? If I am wrong, I’ll admit it over time but given the state that we are in (BP), I would be looking for instant proven help. “If he can regain his form” …. If … If so, the Yanks would have kept him. what’s next, Dillion Gee?

      • jd - Jun 11, 2015 at 12:33 PM

        Nats Fan Zee,

        The reason you can make this trade is that Renda is a non prospect. At 24 with no pop and mediocre defense he 4th on the MI depth charts behind younger more talented Turner, Difo and Bostick. Carpenter was excellent as late as last year so it’s not unreasonable to expect him to regain his form especially since there is nothing apparently wrong with his arm.

    • Danny - Jun 11, 2015 at 1:47 PM

      Mr. Fan Zee is way off here. Renda is bordering on non prospect status, we have better MI options in the minors. Carpenter was a dominant set up man the past two seasons. Good odds he can regain form and we have a cheap hard thrower for 3 years.

      • Nats Fan Zee - Jun 11, 2015 at 2:21 PM

        So the Yankee pinstripe blog headlined the trade this way:

        “After splitting a pair of games at Yankee Stadium, the two teams made a trade, as the Yankees found a taker for Carpenter.”

      • lesatcsc - Jun 11, 2015 at 5:12 PM

        May amount to a nothing for nothing trade, but the odds are that if it is a something for nothing trade, the Nats end up the winner. The Nats have had some recent luck with ex-Yankee pitchers and, like others posting, I really don’t think Renda had any real prospects as a Nat. I don’t think he was even vying for a September call-up and the Nats need BP help now.

        Here’s hoping Carpenter in the NL is not Carpenter in the AL. The Nats could sure use some of those 13-14 type numbers from another reliever.

  7. langleyclub - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    Not so sure that it’s an automatic that Barrett (or Treinen or Rivero) stays up. The Nats will need a long man over the next two weeks as they don’t have an off-day for almost two weeks and Joe Ross and Tanner Roark (neither of whom are likely to pitch more than 6 innings, and may pitch less). Treinen is not suited for more than 2 innings, and he pitched 2 innings yesterday. At least in the short term, the Nats need to keep a true long man in the pen until they string together a few quality starts.

  8. Danny - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:32 AM

    Does this make for a Turner-Difo MI at Harrisburg? Id imagine we’d like them to both stick at short for now.

    • pdowdy83 - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:35 AM

      That is a great point. The timing of this especially.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:42 AM

      I think that this is exactly what this move means. The hope is that the legacy of a Difo/Turner combination starts now.

      • Drew - Jun 11, 2015 at 12:17 PM

        Yes, that’s exactly right. This shores up the MLB bullpen and removes the MI logjam at Harrisburg.

        Turner becomes a Nat next week. Now he and Difo can immediately become the 2b-ss combo at Harrisburg.

        This is very good news.

    • davebinmd - Jun 11, 2015 at 2:26 PM

      Good point, and one of them (I’m thinking Difo) will have to learn 2B pretty soon. The one catch to them getting too much time together in the minors though is the way Turner is tearing through them, he may be making little more than a cameo appearance at AA and AAA in the Nats system.

      As of today, in his first time at AA, having completely skipped-over High-A, Turner is leading his AA team in Hits, RBIs, HRs, Triples, and Total Bases, along with SLG %. He’s second on the team in Doubles, Walks, OPS, Stolen Bases, and Runs Scored. He’s third in BA (.327), OBP (.389). He’ll turn 22 at the end of this month.

  9. Theophilus T.S. - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:56 AM

    I don’t think there’s anything Barrett can learn at AAA. Sending him down is his reward for abysmal performance, of which yesterday is the most recent example. If there’s anything to be learned it’s to pitch under control instead of going past the redline on adrenaline. Assume, for the sake of argument, he’s not as bad some examples of his performance suggest: how can you trust a relief pitcher who as likely as not will give up a double to the CF wall or throw a wild pitch moving a runner from second to third? Someone asked why Williams let Scherzer start the seventh inning (and the same could apply to Gonzalez yesterday. The question was rhetorical: because he can’t trust the bullpen. Managers and pitching coaches can’t teach pitchers to pitch in the middle of what is already a pennant race. They get a certain no. of chances to do their job and when they fail they go down. Or at least that’s the way it ought to be.

  10. scnatsfan - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:59 AM

    One thing I don’t want to see is the rumored Difo for Zobrist deal

    • Danny - Jun 11, 2015 at 11:59 AM

      Now that would be silly

    • masterfishkeeper - Jun 11, 2015 at 12:02 PM

      Yes, I agree. Seems like a bad idea.

    • letswin3 - Jun 11, 2015 at 1:43 PM

      An absurd idea. Difo will ultimately (maybe sooner than later) be the MI for several good (and controllable) years, and he will more than replace the speed element lost when Span is gone. The kid is again hitting over 300, and had 14 HR’s and 49 SB last season. Add it all up and you have yourself a real keeper.

    • unkyd59 - Jun 11, 2015 at 2:34 PM

      Rumored where? I heard the Zobrist talk, but there’s no freaking way Rizzo would let Difo get away for a few months of Zobrist.. Nope.

  11. Drew - Jun 11, 2015 at 12:36 PM

    Turner becomes eligible to join the Nats Sunday.

    At AA San Antonio he’s hitting .326 with an .873 OPS in 215 at bats.

    In 103 ABs with men on base he’s hitting .398 with a 1.000 OPS.

  12. richardp6 - Jun 11, 2015 at 12:58 PM

    Is it possible that MW is using the 1st half of the season to give these young pitchers a bunch of experience to get them ready for Sept-Oct.? they are still going to win the NL East even if they are .500 on Aug.1. They will surge and hopefully the experienced gained will make them reliable relievers down the stretch.

    If by then, they haven’t panned out, he can do a trade in July and acquire someone getting dumped by a non contender with a big salary. they’re not going to let their shot get away due to a weak bullpen. Any suggestions who would fit that profile?

    • virginiascopist - Jun 11, 2015 at 1:25 PM

      I do believe that MW is indeed taking this opportunity to give the young pitchers experience, but I don’t believe he designed it this way. The injuries to Stammen and Janssen, plus the necessary return (temporarily, hopefully) of Roark to the rotation forced his hand in trying out arms like Grace, Solis, Rivero, Martin, and to a certain extent, Cole, Hill, Jordan and even Treinen. If no (relief or starting) pitchers had been injured, it’s possible not one of them would have been called up yet. Getting them all big league experience is important to see who may end up sticking now, who might be a possible call-up later in the season and who might be trade bait.

      As for suggestions if it turns out we’re still looking for bullpen help at the trade deadline, I’m fairly certain Chapman and Clippard will be available — but I’m also sure their price will be very high.

  13. jd - Jun 11, 2015 at 1:09 PM

    How are the Nats prospects doing?

    1) Giolito – 20 moved up to high A this year – scuffling – 2017?
    2) R. Lopez – 21 moved up to high A this year – scuffling – 2018?
    3)Turner – 22 SS moved up to AA this year – dominating – 2017?
    4)Fedde – 22 coming off TJ – 2018?
    5)Taylor – 24 in the majors – scuffling.
    6) Cole – 23 in AAA – scuffling – 2016?
    7)Difo – 23 Moved up to AA – excelling – 2017?
    8) Ross – 23 moved up yo AA -excelling – 2017?
    9)Goodwin – 24 down to AA this year – scuffling – ???
    10) Severino -21 moved up to AA this year -holding his own – 2017?

  14. Section 222 - Jun 11, 2015 at 2:00 PM

    Bullpen help on the way, and we didn’t have to trade Desi or Werth for it. Amazing!

    • Theophilus T.S. - Jun 11, 2015 at 2:18 PM

      Depends on how you find help.

      • Theophilus T.S. - Jun 11, 2015 at 2:18 PM


      • Section 222 - Jun 11, 2015 at 2:27 PM

        True. This is bullpen help in Rizzo’s mind and I agree with him. Kimbrel and Chapman are not available.

  15. natfan33 - Jun 11, 2015 at 3:51 PM

    So when does Rizzo get a hitter?

  16. 4thgendc - Jun 11, 2015 at 4:17 PM

    I’d feel much more comfortable with our pen if we still had Stammen out there. What a luxury it’s been to be able to drop him into basically any situation and expect solid results. I feel like we almost need 4-5 guys to pick up the roles he filled.

    On Carpenter: maybe he just didn’t jive with the Rothschild?

  17. janebeard - Jun 11, 2015 at 8:15 PM

    Man I hope Carpenter can turn himself around with us. Because we do NOT have a setup man. And we need to secure the bp before we get hitters. We have lost more games to bad pitching than not hitting, I think.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter