I almost cringe a bit at using the “schadenfreude” allusion there in the title, but it’s become a thing around here, so I don’t want to abandon it. For shame, I know.
The truth is, I actually feel bad that, today, the Cardinals and Chris Carpenter announced that Carpenter has hit a snag in his offseason throwing program, and is “very unlikely” to pitch for the team in 2013. Carpenter has dealt with a variety of arm issues in his career, and came back at the very end of 2012 after missing most of the season with a serious shoulder problem. He is apparently still experiencing numbness from that injury, and isn’t able to throw right now.
Although no one at the press conference today seems to be saying the word “retirement” just yet, it seems like it is very much on the table at this point. You could understand why Carpenter wouldn’t “retire” just yet – he’s owed $12.5 million through 2013. But, yeah, this feels like a de facto retirement.
The 37-year-old righty has been, when healthy, a critical part of the Cardinals’ rotation for their recent competitive stretch. Without him, the Cardinals’ rotation looks like this: Adam Wainwright, Jake Westbrook, Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia (who is of questionable long-term health), and Shelby Miller (who is a great prospect, but unproven). The Cards have a number of young arms that could step in, so losing Carpenter is far from a death blow. Must be nice to have a stockpile of Major League ready arms. But losing Carpenter undoubtedly hurts.
Will it push the Cardinals to re-engage Kyle Lohse? It seems like they could get by without him, but losing both he and Carpenter could leave them with an issue if they suffer another injury or two, even with their depth.