SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Veteran infielder Matt Carpenter was informed that he would not make the Rangers’ Opening Day roster, manager Chris Woodward announced Sunday.
Carpenter could become a free agent, but the Texas native is prepared to take an assignment to Triple-A Round Rock, where he hopes to play well enough while getting consistent at-bats and force the Rangers’ hand when it comes to promoting him.
“I haven't really looked into [other deals with big league clubs],” Carpenter said. “I haven't had any conversations with anybody yet, but we'll see. I just got the news today, but it works out. I've been living in Texas, and Round Rock’s schedule is in Texas pretty much most of the first month of April. So I just want to go down there and get at-bats and hopefully open some eyes with the way I'm swinging.”
Carpenter was an elite player and three-time All-Star with a 130 OPS+ for the first eight years of his big league career, all of which were spent with the Cardinals. From 2019-21 though, Carpenter hit .203/.325/.346 with a .671 OPS (83 OPS+). He spent most of ‘21 as a role player, and St. Louis declined his team option following the season.
He came to Texas hoping for a chance to revive his career.
The 36-year-old worked with a variety of people to rework his swing this past offseason. He said that during the past few seasons, it became too “rotational'' and everything he hit was a ground ball to the pull side. He spent most of the offseason working to get his swing more north to south, that way the balls are going to the middle of the field with good backspin.
Carpenter signed with the Rangers on March 20 on a Minor League deal and knew coming into camp that there would be a time crunch to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster. With the lockout shortening Spring Training, there was minimal time for the coaching staff to get a good look at Carpenter’s reworked swing.
Including Sunday’s game against the Brewers, Carpenter is 4-for-18 with four RBIs in nine Cactus League games.
“The camp was just bad timing,” Carpenter said. “For anybody with my kind of situation, it would have been better suited to have a normal Spring Training to get more opportunities, more reps and more at-bats. So I totally understand their decision. It just wasn't enough time to really get a good idea of what was going on. But I'm not gonna shy away from an opportunity down there [at Round Rock].”
Carpenter said both Woodward and the front office were honest with him when he signed, saying that it wasn’t necessarily a great fit out of the gate because of the timeline and nothing could be guaranteed. Even so, Carpenter confirmed after he signed that he turned down Major League deals with other clubs because he wanted the “opportunity to bet on himself” with his hometown team.
Though he wasn’t able to make the Opening Day roster, Woodward noted the impact Carpenter had in the clubhouse as a veteran leader.
“I appreciate what he's done for our team in the short amount of time just from the leadership aspect,” Woodward said. “He has been willing to put in a lot of work, and we saw glimpses of the three-time All-Star.”