Poll: Chris Carpenter’s Future

The month of February hasn’t been kind to the Cardinals. First they failed to reach an agreement with Albert Pujols on a long-term contract, then they lost Nick Punto for up to 12 weeks with a hernia, and then they lost Adam Wainwright to Tommy John surgery. That’s enough bad news to last St. Louis the season, nevermind Spring Training.

In the wake of Wainwright’s injury, it’s been speculated that Chris Carpenter could become available in a trade at some point should the Cardinals fall out of contention. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Carpenter wouldn’t stand in the way of a deal (he can veto any trade thanks to his ten-and-five rights), and Joel Sherman of The New York Post suggested the right-hander could be a fit for the pitching-starved Yankees.

As great as Carpenter is, he’s neither young nor cheap. He’ll turn 36 in April and his contract guarantees him $15MM this season, after which a $15MM club option ($1MM buyout) comes into play. With Pujols’ impending free agency hanging over their heads and two more seasons until Kyle Lohse‘s $12.2MM annual salary comes off the books, it’s possible the Cardinals will look to shed Carpenter’s salary and use that money towards keeping their superstar first baseman. It’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the nine-figure contract Pujols will command, but every little bit helps.

Carpenter has pitched to a 2.74 ERA with 6.7 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, and a 52.7% ground ball rate since coming back from Tommy John surgery in late 2008. He’s shown no ill-effects from the procedure, throwing at least 192 innings in each of the last two seasons. If made available, teams would be lining up to acquire him, and not just the Yankees either. However, it’s possible that Carpenter would want his 2012 option picked up in exchange for agreeing to a trade, which could his limit market.

It seems unlikely that St. Louis would look to trade pitching – quality pitching at that – after Wainwright’s injury, but moving Carpenter would have to at least be considered if they fall out of contention at some point. The potential return in the form of young players and cash savings could be too good to pass up.

83 Responses to Poll: Chris Carpenter’s Future Leave a Reply

  1. Martin M. 4 years ago

    He’ll be traded

    • Brad426 4 years ago

      Clears that up.

      I’d say (as Mike does at the bottom of the article) that it pretty much depends on whether the Cards are in contention. I doubt there will be any pre-season or early season move of Carpenter.

    • thegreat1 4 years ago

      this is not being dicussed in stl at all how come just because it benefits the yanks it is all of a sudden a valid rumor and he will get traded for sure, as most people in stl would agree this is more of rosenthal concoting bs in a town he has no connections in

      • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

        First off, no one is limiting the possible destinations for Carp. I’m sure that if he were to become available many teams would come knocking.

        Secondly, how the he!! do you know what is being discussed behind closed doors? Because if you do then you can put this whole Pujols debacle to rest and inform us now as to how close the Cards will come to AP’s 10/$300 mil alleged request.

        • thegreat1 4 years ago

          Well spanky for one thing how does anyone know what is being said behind closed doors maybe the yanks are trying to trade jeter to the tokyo giants for a stake in their sushi restraunt chain thats what the expression “behind closed doors” means. im not insuating i know everything simply stating that the local media is not saying this is viable and there is absolutely no fact that this is being discussed or thought of its one writers speculation; I was commenting on the FACT that everyone who writes about this talks about him going to the yanks and stating the only reason this is written about is because its about the yankees you think if the yanks had a full rotation and insted the toronto blue jays had a need for carp that this would have even got brought up thats a negative ghost rider

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            +1 for calling him spanky, +1 for a random semicolon as the only punctuation in the entire post, and -3 for the rest

          • thegreat1 4 years ago

            Cmon no plus for the top gun reference +50 to you i love good banter thats good stuff. Sorry my punctuation and grammar on a message board post wasnt better i didnt know i was being graded. My point simply is , and no offense yankee fan is that its only even being talked about because the yankees are involved thats all im saying. I think you would agree that the yanks might just get a wee bit more media attention than other teams. No talk at all about this situation even came up until rosenthal got the idea that he could go to the yanks just saying. BTW why would Sabathia opt out doesnt he make ridiculous money what would be his benefit? Hope the structure of this post was better i didnt mean to offend any english professors my apologies if I did.

          • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

            I had to stop several times and insert periods and correct your grammar (insuating) before I could even try to understandyour point…..and still….doesn’t make sense. Of course no one knows what anyone else is thinking. The fact that the concept of trading Carp hasn’t been insinuated to the media means nothing. You can continue to get into a “hissy” if you want. Most ppl are speculating what could happen if the Cards aren’t contenders by July. Being that it’s not even March, it really makes those thoughts premature.

            Take this conversation in stride the same way you do when the conversation speculates about Albert Pujols or when ppl talk of Sabathia’s opt out clause. It’s a rumor site where speculation, presumptions and “if/when” scenarios run rampant.

          • thegreat1 4 years ago

            Right I get it just saying the yanks fuel this rumor its like saying the cowboys would be great if the colts traded peyton manning to them. Its not happening but that topic would get attention just because of the cowboys. I think you can admit this only gets attention because its speculation about the yankees. As far as hissy goes im not mad about it i personally dont think the cards are on a championship track so it might be time to retool some things. Also i think i asked this question in the wrong post reply, why would C.C. opt out isnt he extremely well paid?

          • Verlander_Will_Save_Us_All 4 years ago

            I thought I saw a period but there is a serious chance that it was a piece of dust on my computer screen.

          • thegreat1 4 years ago

            it was

  2. With Wainwright gone, I don’t think the Cards will contend. They obviously have to try in the first half, but outside of Pujols, Holliday, Rasmus, and Carpenter, they have little talent (yes, Garcia and Westbrook are GOOD, but not special players, at least at this point in their careers). That being said, I see them falling out of contention by July, when they should trade Carp (and at least explore trading Pujols).

    • Martin M. 4 years ago

      Yadier Molina isnĀ“t the worst catcher in the game.

      • Good Point, I did forget to mention him. However, that still does not change my view on the team. I think they have too many marginal players that are starting (Theriot, Schumaker, Freese) to contend.

        • syphercx 4 years ago

          Freese has the potential to be pretty good if is minor league numbers are any indication of that. Also he did really well until he was injured last season.

    • Brad426 4 years ago


    • JohnOrpheus 4 years ago

      yes, because what the cards really want is to become the pittsburgh pirates. in what universe does it make sense for the cards to trade carpenter and pujols? ’cause trading away your two signature franchise players is great for revenue and fan support. beside, pecota still projects the cards to be tied for the division lead after the loss of wainwright. typical non-sensical speculation.

      • So if at mid-season a team out of contention shouldn’t consider trading two players who are free agents at the end of the year and will bring back value? I’m not saying they can do it now. If things break right for them, there is a chance that they could win the division. However, if the Brewers and Reds are pulling away in the NL Central by July, which is possible, the right package for Pujols or Carpenter might be the right move.

    • syphercx 4 years ago


    • Redbirds16 4 years ago

      The Cards can contend, but they’ll need strong seasons from their question marks. (Schu, Theriot, Freese, Berkman, Lohse, 5th Starter, Tallet). This isn’t impossible nor improbable, but it will require a lot of work and dedication on the part of the players.

      The core of Carp, Garcia, Westbrook, Pujols, Holliday, Rasmus, Molina is enough to compete anywhere outside the AL East. The bullpen is good as well (not Padres great, but good). I don’t foresee the Cards falling from contention unless there’s another injury (or two) to this core group of guys.

      • PhnxCrew 4 years ago

        even with waingwright and carpenter pitching well, and garcia pitching out of his mind they still were well short of the playoffs in a very weak division last year. The reds will be about the same, the brewers are much better; the cubs, astros, and pirates will each be better. I don’t see how the cardinals are better than .500. Can pujols be cloned and pitch as well as play most of the everyday positions?

      • You sound like a Mets Fan.

    • The_BiRDS 4 years ago

      The St. Louis Cardinals have one of the best offense in the league and they will contend.

      • A lineup that features Skip Schumaker, David Freese, an old Lance Berkman, and Ryan Theriot is not one of the best in the NL. Pujols and Holliday are two of the best players in baseball, but who is going to be on base ahead of them?

        • BajaPete 4 years ago

          “Andy” Freese, eh, Babbling? Sorta defines and settles the “weight” we should give your opinions.

          • Thanks for pointing out my mistake. Edited it now. I don’t see why that makes my baseball acumen lower, but you have every right to disagree with me.

  3. andrewyf 4 years ago

    A mid-rotation pitcher with an option that pretty much no other team can afford (and one that Carpenter will demand to have picked up in order to waive his no-trade clause)? Perfect fit for the Yankees.

    • Brad426 4 years ago

      When healthy Carpenter is only a mid-rotation pitcher on the Phillies staff.

      • andrewyf 4 years ago

        Carpenter’s peripherals have declined as he’s in his late 30s, and in the AL he will take a hit. No one is confusing him with a top-of-the-line pitcher.

        • Brad426 4 years ago

          You should look again. His peripherals are likely to decline since he is almost 36 (which is actually mid-30’s), but at age 34 (2009) he posted his best WHIP, lowest H/9, lowest HR/9, and 3rd best BB/9 of his career.

          • andrewyf 4 years ago

            The things a pitcher can control (strikeout rate and walk rate) have worsened. In his age 36 and 37 season’s, he’ll be a groundballer with pretty good control and ok strikeout rate. If he doesn’t get injured again. Good, but certainly not top of the line. Especially in the AL.

          • Brad426 4 years ago

            Look again. His strikeout rate improved from 2009 to 2010. His walk rate worsened, but partly because in 2009 it was the 3rd best of his career (better, by the way, then his Cy Young year).

            Edit: Which of the stats I posted above are not in a pitcher’s control?

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            i assume he meant exclusively, in which case the answer to your question is WHIP and H/9

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            HR/9 isn’t really either, i should add – which is why xFIP exists. xFIP normalizes HR/FB and is not a huge chris carpenter fan. he was especially lucky there in 2009

          • Brad426 4 years ago

            I would argue no stat is exclusively in a pitcher’s control. Even K/9 and BB/9 are somewhat in the hitters’ control, but point taken.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            right. the distinction i badly implied was between [those things for which the pitcher and his defense are responsible] and [those things for which the pitcher is responsible and for which his defense is not]

          • Brad426 4 years ago

            Bottom line, my overall point is Carpenter isn’t a mid-rotation guy by pretty much any standard you can come up with. And I will defer to you (as the “Stat God” that someone else called you) to show me that he is worse than a #2 starter by any good statistical standard.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            can’t show you any such thing. i stepped in to clarify the dude’s comments, not to argue for his conclusion (that carpenter is a MOR starter). unless one projects greater-than-average decline, he’s a good #2 anywhere except perhaps the AL East – and there he’s a mediocre #2

            other than some slight command problems last year (47.3 % zone, 58.1 % first pitch strikes – both down), i don’t see any real reason to project greater-than-average decline

            i do wonder how much he’d be worth in terms of talent at the deadline, though. if it weren’t for the pujols’ situation, i think STL would be throwing in the towel now and cashing him to nyy

  4. That would be stupid..

    • rickjimbo 4 years ago

      Yeah I have a hard time seeing how they are going to replace his production especially with Wainwright being a question mark probably into the beginning of next season. So lets say they trade Carpenter around the trade deadline and Wainwright has a perfect recovery from surgery, Next spring they will have:
      McClellan (maybe?)

      and it is supposed to be a thin free agent class after CC Sabathia, maybe I am missing something but who is to say Albert Pujols would want to play on a team next year that might not be able to contend as well

      • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

        Has any TJ recovery ever taken less than 1 1/2 years to get back on the field? I think most of them usually take that long before they can pitch again.

        • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

          depends… jesse litsch was back in the majors just after a year of having tj.. recovery times are coming down

          • East Coast Bias 4 years ago

            Speaking of which, I meant to say good luck with the surgery, but you disappeared…

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            hey bud… ya I’ve been in a painkiller haze so I’ve just been lounging on the couch for the most part..

            Surgery went well from what they can tell so far, we’ll see how it responds to pyshio, thanks for checking up!

        • Redbirds16 4 years ago

          Right, I wouldn’t rush Wainwright back from this thing. He might pitch July 2012 in the minors and be with the big league club by mid August. No delusions of miracles here… especially when the Cards’ medical staff is involved.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            ^wisdom! even if he was 100% recovered by early summer next year, it would be irresponsible to plan on him being an ace right out of the gate. if he is to return to his former glory in full at all, that shouldn’t be expected of him until 2013

        • rickjimbo 4 years ago

          That’s kind of where I was going with the “Wainwright being a question mark probably into the beginning of next season” thing, I just can’t see why they would think that trading Carpenter would make them in any way more (or at least at a similar level) competitive in the short term

        • yes, it has. look at his teammate Jaime Garcia

  5. JohnOrpheus 4 years ago

    considering the yanks rotation after sabathia consists of a bunch of back of the rotation pitchers, i’m sure they could use a “mid rotation” pitcher such as carpenter. other mid-rotation pitchers according to you: felix hernandez, grienke, josh johnson, etc.

    • andrewyf 4 years ago

      Yes, they could use a mid-rotation pitcher like Carpenter. That’s what I’m saying.

    • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

      Are you really comparing Carp to Hernandez, Greinke and JJ?

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      in his defense, he was openly projecting age-related decline and league/division factor for carpenter, who at 35 in the NL central was 21st in FIP last year in the national league alone (36th overall)

      felix, greinke, and johnson were 9th, 20th, and 1st overall respectively

    • rickjimbo 4 years ago

      Despite AJ having a seriously bad year last year I wouldn’t consider him or Phil Hughes to be “back of the rotation pitchers”, hell I’m a red sox fan and I think Hughes is one of the better home-grown AL East pitchers I have ever seen. And that’s after less than a year and a half of major league experience

      • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

        i would classify burnett as somewhere between weak 2 and a mediocre 5. or, as i prefer to call it, “a frightening #3 with upside”

  6. disgustedcubfan 4 years ago

    If the Cardinals move Carpenter for prospects, they immediately become a .500 team in 2011. I can not remember St. Louis ever waving a white flag before the season even started.
    Rebuilding from the ground up may not be what Pujols and his agent are looking for in the next 3-4 years.
    I think the Cardinals find a serviceable starter somewhere and compete hard in 2011

    • timmytwoshoezzz 4 years ago

      I think a reasonable argument could be made that, minus Wainwright, the Cards already are a .500 team

      • Wainwright’s a 4-5 win pitcher, so that takes the 86-76 2010 Cardinals and puts them somewhere in the range of 81-82 wins. Add 6+ wins the Brewers get from adding Greinke and Marcum, at least one of which ought to come from St. Louis, and the Cards are at best a .500 team. Worse if they sustain an injury, and only possibly better if they get production from an unexpected source.

        • Ferrariman 4 years ago

          Wainwright was a 6win player last year and nearly a 6win player in 2009. Although Garcia should have more innings to use, his peripherals may drop a bit, but his WAR can still rise from more innings. Lohse is gonna better or be gone and Westbrook was solid. I really am not too worried about the rotation. It is how most rotations are structured, one ace, one number two who could be an ace, a mid rotation starter, a back of rotation starter, and a spot for a minor leaguer to contend.

  7. syphercx 4 years ago

    Leech said yesterday that Carp isn’t on the trading block and the Cards have no intention of trading him.

    • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

      I haven’t read too many reputable reporters say the Cards would trade him before the season. However, the idea that might want to move him if they don’t contend this year by the trade deadline makes sense.

      a) They are cash strapped or rather upagainst their budget (allegedly by their own words).
      b) They might alreadyhave set their minds that they are not going to come close to whatever number AP and his agent have thrown around behind closed doors.
      c) They have a very thin farm and trading Carpenter might net them one or two very good (maybe not elite) prospects that would quickly fall into their top 5 or so.

      All legit possibilities.

      • syphercx 4 years ago

        I’m not ruling trading him out, its just there is all this speculation floating around already.
        And I wouldn’t count the cards out just yet, this wouldn’t be the first time they contended with a make shift pitching staff.

        • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

          Welcome to the world of mlb rumors where speculating is what we do.

          • syphercx 4 years ago

            Lol yeah I guess so, It just sucks when the speculation is over some of your favorite players on your favorite team.

            Pujols doesn’t sign, Wainwright goes down, and now we have to hear rumors about Carp leaving. Not trying to be negative or throw a pity party ( however that sort of I am doing) Its just a lot surrounding my team in a pretty short time. So most cards fans are probably overly defensive or on edge.

          • thegreat1 4 years ago

            agree completely the speculation kind of feels like they are getting “picked on” sounds dumb but really cards usually seem like they fly under the radar

  8. optionn 4 years ago

    You got to figure Cards will decline that option and try to amass enough bread to pay Albert his 30 million.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      no carpenter and a question mark on wainright… is albert staying then?

  9. Pawsdeep 4 years ago

    I’m sure he will be traded for some young arms. I highly doubt that the cards would have picked up his option, considering they are going to have to pay Albert a king’s ransom and you have to figure they will try and squeeze some sort of a deal so he doesnt just walk at the end if the season giving them nothing to show for his absence. Some contending team will pay big for him and the cardinals would be stupid not to take it considering he will probably be gone next year with or without a trade.

  10. Let me ask you a question: Even with a healthy 2010 Adam Wainwright, and Albert Pujols, were the Cardinals deep into the postseason?

    In 2006, they just got lucky they even made it with 83 wins. I don’t see what the big deal is.

    • rayking 4 years ago

      Not sure how 2006 is relevant to the discussion of whether they will trade Carp.

      As for last year, teams make transactions between seasons and change players, and sometimes guys perform differently from season-to-season, thereby causing – gasp! – different results from one season to the next. Did the Giants go deep into the postseason in 2009?

    • disgustedcubfan 4 years ago

      In 2011, maybe they do. The point is , make it to the playoffs, and see what happens.

    • mattevilspawn 4 years ago

      I’ll concede the 2006 team overachieved. That’s fairly common knowledge among baseball fans.

      However, it’s also fair to say the 2010 underachieved. They finished 10 games over .500 but should have done better. After the infamous skirmish and sweeping the Reds in Cincy, they got their butts kicked by the Cubs and completely folded down the stretch. It shouldn’t have happened, but that’s baseball. The 2010 was had championship caliber talent. I

      • I guess you’re right. I don’t follow the NL, but I noticed the Cards have good players but they never seem to get too far. That’s just my conclusion.

    • mattevilspawn 4 years ago

      I’ll concede the 2006 team overachieved. That’s fairly common knowledge among baseball fans.

      However, it’s also fair to say the 2010 underachieved. They finished 10 games over .500 but should have done better. After the infamous skirmish and sweeping the Reds in Cincy, they got their butts kicked by the Cubs and completely folded down the stretch. It shouldn’t have happened, but that’s baseball. The 2010 was had championship caliber talent. I

    • TimothyStone 4 years ago

      We just don’t know. They have to play the games first. I would speculate that they should make it to the post season, but it’s a long season and anything could happen.

      Can they still make it deep into the post season without Adam, I think so as long as everybody else is healthy and producing.

      I don’t think 2006 was a fluke, I know people say that, but the truth is they got hot at the right time and then the tigers stalled too long and because of that were not prepared.

      Obviously, Baseball is a very mental game and momentum is huge. Just like the Giants won it all last year, but they were not supposed to.

      Just because a team has a lot of talent on paper does not mean that will translate well into going to the world series and winning it all, it takes more than just raw talent.

  11. dc21892 4 years ago

    My best guess is a midseason trade in hopes of acquiring some decent talent. Then, use the money they save from Carpenters contract, they use it to sweeten the Pujols deal.

  12. YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

    First off, no one is limiting the possible destinations for Carp. I’m sure that if he were to become available many teams would come knocking.

    Secondly, how the he!! do you know what is being discussed behind closed doors? Because if you do then you can put this whole Pujols debacle to rest and inform us now as to how close the Cards will come to AP’s 10/$300 mil alleged request.

  13. bjordanr63 4 years ago

    The Cardinals would be stupid to trade Carpenter. Unless he just absolutely bombs the season or has a major injury, they need to renegotiate his $15 mil option into a 2 year deal at slightly lower AAV. Remember, since coming to STL his highest ERA over the course of a season has been 3.46. Even if his number come out to his averages as a Cardinal, he still unlikely to be cheap on the FA market. He won’t obviously get a long term deal, but it’s not like he’s going to be a $5 million pitcher.

    With the thin free agent pitching market next year and Wainwright out until July-August, if the Cards (with out without Pujols) want to contend they are going to need Carpenter for both his pitching ability and veteran presence.

    The biggest issue I have with trading Carpenter is for his life after his playing days. The Cardinals need to look to Carpenter to be a pitching coach who can continue the work of Dave Duncan. Carpenter simply loves the game and he loves the Cardinals. I don’t see him wanting to just be done with it. Carpenter understands Duncan’s philosophy better than anyone on the team. Most young players look up to Carpenter, not Wainwright..who constantly speaks about what Carp has done for his career. When he isn’t on the mound, he is always out there helping the other pitchers: watching bullpen sessions, looking for flaws, and simply offering advice. In 2009, when Wainwright had a bit of a slow start, Carpenter noticed his arm slot angle was off by like 4 inches and Waino was lights out since.

    Carpenter will continue to be a major asset when his playing career is over. He has the tools to be a great pitching coach. I wouldn’t let him leave for one year for that reason alone.

  14. SLUCARD 4 years ago

    The Cardinals aren’t the Pirates. They are not a rebuilding team. It’s extremely unlikely that the Cards trade Carpenter. If they did, it would be a sign that they were giving up on the season. That means they will likely lose Pujols to free agency, which would alienate the fanbase. That also means the Cards lose money in ticket sales, merchandise, etc. Add in Carpenter’s importance as a leader in the clubhouse, and trading him is a recipe for disaster. Yankee fans can daydream all they want about Carp, but its just not going to happen. It may make sense for the Yankees, but it sure doesn’t for the Cardinals.

    • Ferrariman 4 years ago

      If the package was right, i would gladly move carp as a cardinal fan. And by a right package, i don’t mean some sloth thrown together like Nunez, Noesi, and Joba. The package would have to be worth atleast more than 2 high draft picks.

  15. thegreat1 4 years ago

    it was a piece of dust

  16. Matt22yuc 4 years ago

    it depends on if they resign Pujols or not

  17. The Cards could “re-build” in a hurry if they get to July without a chance to contend. If they feel like the can’t sign Pujols, why not trade him and Carpenter (and other pieces like Berkman and Franklin)? They could get a ton in return and can be active in the FA market next Winter…

    • Matt22yuc 4 years ago

      Pujols has a no trade clause and said he will revoke all trades.

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