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Carpenter Speaks, Others Throw

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
For most of the world, the Pope's retirement was the biggest press event involving cardinals.  Not so much in St. Louis, of course, because Chris Carpenter coming to the microphone can top even the Holy Father in baseball heaven.

Carpenter spoke to the media briefly in St. Louis, seemingly more as an attempt at some closure rather than to encourage the faithful.  While Carpenter didn't want to talk of retirement--and more on those motivations in a bit--he did indicate that we might have to look for some white smoke before we saw him again.

It doesn't sound like Carpenter is going to be the cheerleader that Adam Wainwright was during his injury year, which isn't surprising.  Can you imagine the gruff Carpenter of legend wearing a cheerleader outfit on opening day?  It would go against his nature to sit around helplessly when he can't get out there and help and, realistically, isn't going to be able to get out there and help either.  This has to be painful for him and it makes sense that he won't go to spring training or be around the team all that much this year.

We all knew he wasn't going to retire, of course.  As the cynical point out, he'd be walking away from $12.5 million if he did that.  I'm sure the money does play a part in wanting to keep his options open.  After all, this will likely be his last payday in baseball.  Even if he got into coaching, they don't pay them on that level and I can't see Carpenter being one to do a lot of card shows to supplement his income.  Of course, most of us would say that the roughly $88 million he's earned in the past would be enough to get us by, but when you not only are used to a lifestyle (and I don't say that in a negative way--most of us live in a manner that a cut in pay would be pretty devastating as well) but are trying to provide comfort for the next generation or two, it's tough to leave that much on the table.

More to the point, though, it goes to everything we know about Chris Carpenter.  He's not a quitter.  If he didn't prove that last year, then I'm not sure what it's going to take to convince you. He's a guy that wants to play and won't ever admit that he can't.  That's the mindset that has made him so successful, so we shouldn't be surprised that he thinks that way about things like this either.

As Carpenter was giving what may turn out to be his farewell address, the next generation of arms was starting to work out in Jupiter.  The competition for the fifth spot between Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller might be between players who are friends, but that doesn't mean it's going to be a friendly one.  Each of those guys wants to take that last slot and it seems pretty likely that whomever pitches the best in the next six weeks (or less) will get it.  Miller has come in looking the best the Cards have seen him and Derek Lilliquist is impressed.  My gut feeling--which has been wrong about basically everything this offseason, so take that for what it's worth--still says that Miller has the slight edge over the other two.  Kelly's experience would help him, but both Kelly and Rosenthal have seen extended time in the bullpen.  Still, it's going to come down to what we see out of these pitchers when games start a week from Saturday.

While pitchers and catchers officially report today, obviously a lot of players have already been there.  We talked yesterday about the work Matt Carpenter was doing to be ready at second base and apparently it's going well, as Jose Oquendo says he's ahead of where Skip Schumaker was at this point in his conversion.  Now, that's not necessarily the highest bar to clear and it seems unlikely Carpenter is going to be mentioned in the Gold Glove discussion this year, but it's good to know this idea hasn't been a total flop.  Of course, as Oquendo says, now we have to see what he can do in game situations.

The Hall of Famers have their schedules.  The pitchers are throwing.  Folks, it's time for baseball.  Nothing better than that!

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Jon Jay (4)
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Pete Kozma (3)
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David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
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2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
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Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%

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