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Cardinals' Carpenter Out For Year, Maybe Career

Chris Carpenter won't pitch this year. He might not throw another major-league pitch. This could be good news for the Cubs.

Christian Petersen

Cardinals righthander Chris Carpenter has come back from serious injuries three times in his career, helping lead St. Louis to World Series wins twice.

That could all be ending, says Matt Snyder of CBS Sports:

Chris Carpenter is very unlikely to pitch during the 2013 season, the Cardinals announced at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. General manager John Mozeliak made the announcement, citing continued issues with the health of Carpenter's right shoulder, neck and arm.  

Retirement was not mentioned specifically, but it's obviously on the table because Mozeliak mentioned that Carpenter was worried about having a "normal after-career." Judging from the demeanor of Mozeliak, manager Mike Matheny and the words they used during the press conference, it was pretty clear both believe Carpenter has thrown his last pitch in the majors.

I don't mind, of course, seeing the Cardinals become a weaker team. The Reds are still the class of the National League Central, but the Cardinals figured to be a wild-card contender if Carpenter had been healthy (and any semblance of his 2011 form). Snyder's article quotes Mozeliak:

"We're comfortable with what we have," Mozeliak said when asked if the Cardinals would revisit signing free agent Kyle Lohse.

Without Carpenter and Lohse, the Cardinals' rotation is significantly worse. The Cubs' rotation, in fact, could challenge St. Louis', if Edwin Jackson produces and the Scotts, Baker and Feldman, become competent bottom-of-the-rotation starters.

This changes the balance of the division, and can only be good news for the Cubs. That said, I salute Carpenter, who was a big-game pitcher if ever there was one; he always stepped up in critical pennant-race games and in the postseason and had a classy career.

It'll also reduce big-league confusion; if the Cardinals righthander is indeed done, this leaves just one Chris Carpenter in a major-league organization, the former Cubs minor leaguer now in the Red Sox system.