Chris Carpenter Rumors

Quick Hits: 2-Sport Athletes, Carpenter, Pineiro, Cook

Two-sport stars do not always choose baseball, but those who do tend to cite the better financial prospects from the player's perspective, writes USA Today's Gabe Lacques. Diamondbacks prospect Archie Bradley, for example, says it was hard to turn down the chance to be "a legend" by playing quarterback for Oklahoma, but his awareness of the lack of guaranteed money and attrition in football led him to take a $5MM signing bonus. Billy Hamilton and Carl Crawford are other players quoted in the article who do note regret their choice. "Look, there's way more money in baseball," says Cubs president Theo Epstein. "We have to do a better job as an industry in promulgating that fact." Or, as Bradley puts things, "obviously, guaranteed money is never a bad thing."

Here are a few more stray notes from the day:

  • Longtime Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter says he is at peace with his decision to hang up his spikes, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The 38-year-old says that, after working out over the winter, he knew it was time: "It's not going to work," he realized. "No matter how hard I push it's just not going to happen." Carpenter and GM John Mozeliak are still sorting out what role he will play in the organization going forward.
  • Veteran hurler Joel Pineiro is still working on his comeback, tweets Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. He showed off his form a few days back in front of at least a dozen teams' representatives. The 35-year-old righty has played in parts of twelve MLB campaigns, posting a lifetime 4.41 ERA over 1,754 1/3 innings, but has not pitched in the bigs since 2011.
  • Another familiar arm, Aaron Cook, is now pumping the brakes on his own attempt at a return, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Though he is not retiring, Cook is reportedly unlikely to pitch in the coming season. The 35-year-old has a career stat-line not unlike that of Pineiro, with a 4.60 ERA over 1,406 1/3 frames in parts of 11 seasons. After developing into a solid innings-eater in his late twenties, Cook's production took a distinct downturn over the 2010-12 campaigns.

NL Central Notes: Cubs, Cards, Weeks, Carpenter

We've already passed along several of Scott Boras' more newsworthy comments from Wednesday's scrum with reporters in Orlando, but one of the superagent's most notable barbs was reserved for the Cubs. Boras likened Chicago's rebuilding process to a lollipop that takes all day to dissolve, suggesting that a major-market team should be retooling more rapidly. Although team president Theo Epstein wasn't surprised by Boras' remarks, he declined to shoot back.

"We’re not going to get into a war of words with Scott other than to say the folks who work for the Cubs probably have a better understanding of our situation than he does," Epstein said, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Here's more from around the NL Central:


Chris Carpenter Retires

Chris Carpenter has told the Cardinals that he is officially retiring, general manager John Mozeliak revealed at today's press conference to announce manager Mike Matheny's three-year extension (Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporting on Twitter).

Carpenter attempted a comeback this season but was unable to make it back to a big league mound. The 38-year-old didn't pitch in 2013 and managed just 17 innings in 2012 after a strong 2011 campaign that saw him lead the NL in starts and innings pitched.

Injuries to Carpenter shortened what could have been one of the most impressive careers of a generation, but few were better than Carpenter when he was healthy. From 2004-11, Carpenter posted a 3.06 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 1,331 2/3 innings. He took home the National League Cy Young Award in 2005 and finished in the Top 3 on two other occasions.

Carpenter's career will conclude with a 144-94 record, 3.76 ERA, 33 complete games, 15 shutouts and 1,697 strikeouts in 2,219 1/3 innings between the Blue Jays and Cardinals. Baseball-Reference pegs his career at 35.5 wins above replacement, and Fangraphs likes him for 38.9 WAR. Carpenter earned $98.5MM in his career, according to Baseball-Reference. The Cardinals are said to be discussing a new role in the organization with Carpenter, so St. Louis fans will likely continue to see his name in the news. Best of luck in life after pitching, Chris.



Central Notes: Jimenez, Carpenter, Twins

The Indians say they want to keep starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer writes. The team extended Jimenez a qualifying offer on Monday, although Jimenez is expected to decline it. "We’ve been consistent since the season ended," says GM Chris Antonetti. "We’d like to have Ubaldo back. He played a huge part in our success last year, especially in the second half." Hoynes had previously written that there was "no chance" the Indians would sign Jimenez long-term, however, arguing that Tim Lincecum's contract with the Giants set the market too high for the Indians to be able to keep Jimenez. It would still be surprising, then, if Jimenez wound up staying in Cleveland. Here are more notes from the Central divisions.

  • Chris Carpenter's playing career appears to be over, but Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says he and Carpenter have discussed a possible future role for Carpenter with the organization, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports. Carpenter already lives in St. Louis, and might be amenable to continuing on with the Cardinals in some sort of non-playing capacity.
  • The Twins are currently focusing on pitching in the free agent market, ESPN1500's Darren Wolfson tweets. They may later turn their attention to finding a hitter, Wolfson suggests, but so far they haven't. The Twins allowed 788 runs in 2013, worse than any team except the Astros, so finding a couple extra arms appears to be crucial for Minnesota this offseason.

Central Notes: Brewers, Carpenter, Baker, Twins

The Brewers front office held individual meetings with the coaching staff, as part of the team's annual season-ending evaluations, while in St. Louis for a series against the Cardinals this past week. "It's more on what's going on and what we can do better, and do we need to change anything in Spring Training, do we need to do anything in the season differently?" manager Ron Roenicke told reporters, including MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. "Kind of, 'What went wrong?' We know the injuries, we know what. But what else can we do to help?" This week, the front office and the coaching staff will meet as a group to discuss plans for 2014. Elsewhere from MLB's Central divisions:

  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel breaks down the Brewers' roster position-by-position.
  • Chris Carpenter is concentrating on mentoring the Cardinals' young starters and not on whether he will be able to resume his career in 2014, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I'll start working out before Spring Training, get off the mound like I always do and see what happens — and it's not time to say whether or not I want to do that. That's not on my mind right now." Carpenter said. "I'm going to enjoy this time with the guys, my family, and at the end of it we'll sit down and process where we're at, where we want to go forward as a family."
  • Scott Baker will make one more start for the Cubs on Friday before being shut down for the remainder of the season, reports MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. Baker, who underwent Tommy John surgery 17 months ago, has allowed just one run and five hits with a 5.0 K/BB ratio in his two starts (11 innings) since being activated from the disabled list. 
  • Baker's performance has impressed manager Dale Sveum, who would like to see Cubs re-sign the right-hander, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Baker, finishing off a one-year, $5.5MM contract, is also interested in a return engagement. "It's definitely an interesting place for me to be next year," said Baker. "I love the city and I love the organization as a whole. But obviously, we'll just have to see because there's a lot of moving parts. They've got a master plan and we'll just see if I'm part of it."
  • Twins manager Ron Gardenhire may or may not be back in 2014, but he does know the team needs to acquire better starting pitching, writes MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger. "I don't think we have enough ready arms to step into this rotation," Gardenhire said. "We have lots of candidates. But are these guys ready to turn you around? I don't think so."
  • Within the same piece, Gardenhire also expressed his disappointment in some players' work ethic, as the franchise plots its course for 2014. "A lot of these guys have to understand this means a lot right now to how this roster is going to shape up next year," said Gardenhire. "Hopefully, they'll figure it out. We've been beating it into their heads that there's still something to play for.

Cardinals Will Discuss Return With Chris Carpenter

Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter was hoping to pitch again in 2013, but he is no longer optimistic about his chances of that happening.  If he decides to make a go of it in 2014, Cards GM John Mozeliak says he'll discuss a fresh contract with Carpenter, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

I think right now he’s trying to get his head around does he want to try to do something next year?” Mozeliak said. “Clearly his tenure with St. Louis would require a discussion on how that might look. I think right now we have to determine where he is physically and what that might look like two, three, four months from now and if he’s going to try and make a comeback. He’s meant a lot to us. I think he deserves that type of respect and conversation.

The 38-year-old hasn't been able to throw since struggling during a Triple-A rehab assignment and he doesn't have any plans to throw again in the near future because of nerve trouble in his right shoulder.  The right-hander, who is making $10.5MM this season, has a career 3.76 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.


Central Notes: Garza, Soriano, Peavy, Carpenter

Five years ago today, the Brewers acquired CC Sabathia from the Indians for Matt LaPorta, Rob BrysonZach Jackson, and a player to be named later. The PTBNL turned out to be Michael Brantley who hit a pair of homers, including the game-winner, and drove in a career-high five runs in the Indians' 9-6 win over the Tigers this afternoon. Brantley, who has matched his career-best with seven home runs on the season, has become the headliner in the deal for the Indians as LaPorta has been a disappointment and is no longer on their 40-man roster, Bryson is struggling with an ERA over 11 at Double-A Akron, and Jackson is now in the Royals organization. Sabathia, meanwhile, was so dominant during his short tenure as a Brewer he led the NL in complete games (seven) and shutouts (three) while posting a 1.65 ERA during 17 regular-season starts. Sabathia used that platform to sign a record seven-year, $161MM contract with the Yankees. Will there be a similar blockbuster deal between MLB Central Division teams in 2013? Here's the latest:

  • With Ricky Nolasco becoming a Dodger, the trade rumor spotlight will now shine brightly upon the Cubs' Matt Garza. The Nationals have kicked the tires on the right-hander, but talks have not progressed to the point of a formal proposal being exchanged, a person familiar with the situation told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Nationals, who already have scouted Garza this year, have long had an interest in acquiring Garza engaging in a "not insignificant" pursuit of him in 2011 before the Rays shipped him to the Cubs. 
  • Alfonso Soriano has increased his trade value thanks to five home runs and 13 RBIs in his last eight games, writes ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine
  • Jake Peavy will continue his rehab from a fractured rib with a simulated game Tuesday after reporting normal soreness from a 53-pitch bullpen session Friday, reports Scott Merkin of MLB.com. If healthy, Peavy could be dealt before the Trade Deadline. "We'll see how it plays out," Peavy told Merkin. "I'm open to anything and I'll do everything I'm asked to do. If that's staying here, I'll be happy to do that. If that means to move, then that's something we'll address and be OK with when that time comes.
  • The Cardinals are conducting a low-key search for a starting pitcher and, if healthy, Chris Carpenter could be that starter bringing the club confidence, energy, and swagger during the dog days of the schedule, writes Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "They’re going to evaluate me," Carpenter said. "Is my stuff good enough? Am I good enough to fit in and move one of these guys? If not, be honest, tell me and move on.
  • Scouts from the Tigers, Cardinals, and Orioles were on hand for the Brewers-Mets game today, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.   
  • Last night, MLBTR's Jeff Todd highlighted the Trade Deadline options for the Indians

Injury Notes: Carpenter, Anderson, Pagan, Chen, Cervelli

As always, the rehabilitation status of injured players can have a major impact on teams' plans as the trade deadline nears. Here are a few updates on some players whose recovery could play a role in the trade market's development:

  • Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter threw over 100 pitches in a bullpen session Friday and could face live hitters shortly, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Though Cards' GM John Mozeliak said recently that Carpenter's status is unlikely to factor into the team's plans, a continued positive trajectory could potentially change that stance.
  • The Athletics received good news on starter Brett Anderson today, with MLB.com's Jane Lee reporting (via Twitter) that he will be shedding his walking boot and beginning to work back from an ankle fracture. She also tweets that manager Bob Melvin is bullish on Anderson returning strong, with Lee suggesting that we could see a repeat of Anderson's mid-August return from last season. While the A's rotation has not exactly been a problem area, some have suggested that Oakland could shop for another arm.
  • It appears that the Giants are prepared to go the rest of the way without center fielder Angel Pagan, with the club putting him on the 60-day DL. The San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea also relayed comments (on Twitter) by GM Brian Sabean indicating that the club does not expect him back in 2013. As previously noted, this could make the Giants potential buyers for a Pagan replacement. 
  • On the other hand, in spite of that need (and this evening's earlier report that the club is actively pursuing Ricky Nolasco), San Francisco could instead stand pat. Shea tweets that, according to Sabean, the Giants will not make any acquisitions unless the team turns around its play before the deadline.
  • Though the Orioles recently added a starter in the first significant trade of the pre-deadline market, they could still be considering the addition of more starting pitching. One major factor in Baltimore's internal analysis will surely be the return of Wei-Yin Chen, who has missed much of the year with a strained oblique. Chen looked strong in his rehab outing last night and, according to Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun, could take a spot in the rotation as soon as Tuesday. If Chen can pick up where he left off — his ERA stands at 3.04 through his first 47 1/3 innings of the year — it may obviate the need for the O's to revisit the market. 
  • Another day, another bit of bad injury news for the Yankees. As Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports, the catching-strapped club learned yesterday that its primary backstop to start the year, Francisco Cervelli, will have his rehab halted and be shut down for two weeks. With an early August return now the best case scenario for Cervelli and rookie Austin Romine struggling, the Yankees could find it necessary to look for another capable backstop before the trade deadline.

NL Notes: Phillies, Cardinals, Cubs

Phillies president David Montgomery showed support for GM Ruben Amaro Jr. on Wednesday, Bob Brookover of the Inquirer reports. "Ruben is not making independent decisions," Montgomery says. "He's going with a pretty good group of eyes who are looking out there at players and making determinations. God knows we're all trying to bat 1.000 on decision making. The reality is I think we do better than the .300 standard in baseball." The Phillies are 35-38 after going 81-81 last season. Here are more notes from the National League.

  • The Phillies are among the teams that must rebuild, says ESPN's Jim Bowden (Insider-only). (Bowden also names the White Sox and the Brewers.) Bowden says the Phillies should try to trade veterans in order to reduce the payroll and add youth, but they shouldn't blow up the team completely, since the Phillies have a workable core. Trading Cliff Lee or Jonathan Papelbon would be the Phillies' best bet, Bowden says.
  • Chris Carpenter, who is trying to come back from a nerve injury, will not factor in the Cardinals' trade deadline plans, GM John Mozeliak tells Derrick Gould and Brendan Meyer of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. " He hasn’t pitched yet. It’s still something that he could end up contributing, I think that’s a bonus. But I don’t think, going in to (July 31), (we will be) factoring him involved right now," says Mozeliak. Carpenter felt back tightness after throwing a bullpen session on Sunday.
  • Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein says manager Dale Sveum isn't to blame for the team's poor record, ESPNChicago.com's Doug Padilla writes, citing an interview on ESPN 1000. The Cubs just don't have the talent to provide Sveum with good options right now, Epstein says. "I think Dale is taking a lot of heat for the fact that we don't have currently a roster that is talented enough to regularly win baseball games," says Epstein. "We just don't."
  • Epstein also says the Cubs will not release Ian Stewart, Padilla notes. The Cubs suspended Stewart after he sent a series of tweets complaining that the club was unlikely to promote him. "He hasn't lived up to our expectations but he is a human being and his career is at stake," Epstein says. Stewart has hit .168/.286/.372 for Triple-A Iowa this season.

Central Notes: Liriano, Carpenter, Berry, Kazmir

From earlier today in the two Central divisions, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer sat down for a podcast with ESPN's Buster Olney, the Brewers are looking to the future and Jake Peavy is willing to be traded anywhere if the White Sox see fit to move him.  Here are some other items from both the AL and NL Central…

  • Francisco Liriano's 2014 option with the Pirates will vest for $6MM if the southpaw can avoid spending 120 days on the disabled list this season, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.  Liriano signed a complicated deal with the Bucs in February that only guaranteed him $1MM in 2013 but could've been worth as much as $12.75MM if Liriano stayed healthy.  His stint on the DL this season already cost him around $1.625MM this season and an extra $2MM for 2014.
  • Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter threw to live batters on Monday, The Associated Press reports, and may repeat the process if his shoulder doesn't become numb.  Carpenter was thought to be out for all of 2013 and was pondering retirement due to ongoing shoulder injuries, but the former Cy Young Award winner has taken several positive steps in his comeback.
  • The Twins had some interest in Quintin Berry before the Royals claimed the outfielder off waivers earlier today, 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson tweets.
  • Scott Kazmir credits his development of secondary pitches and better pitching strategies for his return to the Major Leagues, Howard Megdal of Sports On Earth writes.  Kazmir has a 5.13 ERA in eight starts with the Indians this season but his secondary numbers are good enough that MLBTR's Steve Adams believes he could earn a decent free agent contract this winter.
  • "Lots of changes figure to occur" with the Royals if the team can't get on track, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes as part of a reader mailbag.  If they make a big move like trading Ervin Santana, Dutton figures K.C. would look to acquire a slugging corner outfielder or a second baseman in return.
  • Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago covers several White Sox and Cubs topics and rumors in his live chat about Windy City baseball.