Matt Carpenter could be changing positions...again.
Carpenter has played all over the diamond throughout his career, but last year's transition from third base to first seemed like a long-term solution to his defensive woes.
Now, the Cardinals are throwing caution to the wind again with Carpenter, as they may move him back to third base in an effort to add a big bat to their lineup.
Source: #STLCards remain involved in pursuit of Eric Hosmer, among other options to upgrade lineup. Cardinals also interested in third basemen, including Josh Donaldson in trade. Matt Carpenter’s versatility means Cardinals could add a 1B as easily as a 3B. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 2, 2018
While Eric Hosmer would be a nice addition to the Cardinals lineup, they should think twice about moving Carpenter back to third base.
At 32 years old, Carpenter's defense is not going to get any better, and keeping him at first base is the best way to prolong his career.
Acquiring Eric Hosmer and moving Matt Carpenter to third doesn’t help the #STLCards. Carp isn’t good at 3B.— Dan Buffa (@buffa82) January 3, 2018
The advanced metrics on Carpenter's defense have him as sub-par defender wherever you put him, but looking at his errors last year first base, he's clearly a better fit there. Between 29 games played at second and third base last year, Carpenter made six errors. In his 120 games at first, he only made seven errors.
While Hosmer would represent an upgrade defensively at first base, putting Carpenter back at third would stifle that upgrade as his defense at third will hurt the Cardinals.
Looking to add a third baseman like Josh Donaldson through a trade, or Todd Frazier or Eduardo Nunez through free agency would be a smarter move for the Cardinals.