Don't call it "retirement" but Chris Carpenter is done

Posted by Scott Wuerz on February 5, 2013 

It's a lose-lose situation for the Cardinals as ace pitcher Chris Carpenter has decided that he's no longer going to try to pitch -- but he's not going to formally retire.

Because of that last little wrinkle, Carpenter will continue to collect his $12.5 million 2013 salary.

If he would have just retired, the Cardinals might have been able to take that cash and spend it on another pitcher -- say, perhaps, Kyle Lohse who seems to be in need of work.

I don't know how I feel about Carpenter's decision to hold out for the cash. On one hand, I can understand why a guy wouldn't give back a stack of cash when he didn't have to. But, the Cardinals paid Carpenter $23.5 million for two seasons that he nearly missed in their entirety.

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said Tuesday that he thought it was unlikely that the Cardinals would be able to make a move like trying to re-sign Lohse. That takes them from a team that was one game from a World Series berth and turns it into a club that has Adam Wainwright and a bunch of question marks in the starting rotation.

The Cardinals, with Lohse's departure as a free agent and Carpenter's as a casualty, will be without two of their top three pitchers from the last five years. Jaime Garcia's health was more in doubt than Carpenter's a month ago and who knows if Lance Lynn can pitch like he did last year when a guy who the organization had basically lost faith in turned around and won 18 games.

There's a lot of difference between pitching against the other club's fourth or fifth starter and being a guy who is counted on near the top of the rotation.

I hope the Redbirds can come to some sort of agreement with Carpenter to defer his 2013 paycheck over several years so they can afford to try to sign a veteran starter. But I don't know if that's possible this late in the game. 

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