Chris Carter has finally been liberated from the shackles of the International League. The Mets pulled the plug on Frank Catalanotto last night, releasing the veteran pinch-hitter and calling up Carter to take his spot on the roster.
Carter had been tattooing Triple-A pitching, putting up a .336/.390/.611 line with 17 extra-base hits (including 6 home runs) in 29 games. Cats had been terrible in New York; he was sent up as a pinch-hitter in 24 of the 25 games he made an appearance in and went just 3 for 22 with one extra-base hit in that role. Pinch-hitters who can't hit, can't run and can't play the field are about as useless as one can get.
For now, one would presume that Carter will also primarily be limited to pinch-hitting duty, as his defense can only charitably be described as terrible. West Side Ed puts Carter squarely in the Adam Dunn realm of awfulness on the field; I'm hoping he will merely be bad during the occasional starts he gets at first base or the corner outfield positions.
This is another positive sign from a franchise that has always been far too reliant on veteran influence, even when the on-field production is lacking. Carter is a finished product - he has spent parts of the last five seasons in Triple-A - so there was no reason to hold him back any longer. Cats has been useless, and his presence on the roster at the expense of Jacobs was starting to become embarrassing.
The Mets mercifully put an end to the Mike Jacobs fiasco after two weeks and have been rewarded by the play of Ike Davis, who has certainly held his own so far. I don't think Carter will have quite the same impact, but I can see him providing a decent bat at the league minimum and playing his way into trade bait for an American League team looking for a cheap DH.