The St. Louis Cardinals called a press conference at 1:30 pm on Tuesday. While rumors spread about contract extensions or arbitration resolutions, the reality set in quickly.
Chris Carpenter has reported to the team that he is experiencing the same discomfort that he experienced last season that led him to miss the majority of the season and have a rib removed to attempt a comeback. When the possibility of another rehab assignment was brought up to Carpenter in the past, he claimed that a setback of this nature would possibly bring an end to his career.
When asked if he anticipated Chris Carpenter playing any role for the Cardinals in 2013, General Manager John Mozeliak simply stated “No, I do not”.
The team seems poised to handle the injury with an internal replacement, as pitchers Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal, and Shelby Miller were mentioned by name during the press conference as players that were told to prepare to come to camp attempting to be a part of the rotation.
Speculation now runs rampant on whether or not Kyle Lohse could see a return to the Cardinals. Lohse, a free agent at the end of last season, has seen very little interest in his services on the market thus far. Many believe that is due to the compensation draft pick that would have to be surrendered in order to bring him onto a roster. The Cardinals would obviously not have to be concerned with that in order to bring him back to the organization.
The decision on whether or not to bring in a free agent pitcher, Lohse or otherwise, may very well be related to the business behind the remainder of the Carpenter situation. Insurance policies on contracts are commonplace these days and could earn the Cardinals somewhere in the neighborhood of 60-75% of Carpenter’s 2013 contract. In addition, if Carpenter does officially retire, he would be walking away from his current contract and the team would no longer retain any liability to his current contract.
All things considered, it is a large blow to the St. Louis Cardinals going into a Spring Training that just became a lot more interesting.
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
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