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Filling Carpenter's shoes

The Cardinals say Chris Carpenter is going to be out "a while" which really means "a long freaking time."

And thus, the team's Achillies heal is exposed: No depth on the pitching staff.

The team, which refused to part with any more cash than absolutely necessary, now must look to either Kyle McClellan or Mitchell Boggs to fill the shoes of its ace.

McClellan wore down last year in the bullpen and is completely unproven as a major league starter. He also happens to be the most reliable righty the Birds have in the bullpen right now. Which means if they drag him out of the role he was groomed for, we can look forward to Josh Kinney walking in more runs and putting guys on base with free passes just prior to giving up the long ball. And that ought do wonders...

Boggs got a chance to crack the rotation last year, not so ironically, when Chris Carpenter was out with injury. And that didn't go well at all.

So, it's time to ask the general manager what he plans to do with all that dry powder he has been keeping in reserve.

The Cardinals have such a crowded outfield that they can't find playing time for 2008 All Star Ryan Ludwick. Yet they can't put together a deal for a serviceable major league starter?

Instead, they will preach patience and say that Carpenter will be back sooner or later. But he is going to have problems for the rest of his career. It's time to face that. And if he is okay, one of the other starters will have health or performance issues at any given time. It's just the way things are these days.

The team can afford a big ticket pitcher like Jake Peavy or Roy Halladay because it has a gap in the 2008 and 2009 payrolls big enough to swallow either's contract whole. And if that isn't enough, Todd Wellemeyer, Joel Pineiro, Khalil Green, Troy Glaus and Rick Ankiel will be free agents at the end of the season. The Cardinals are paying nearly $19 million to Pineiro and Glaus alone...

Get something done, Cardinals.