Cheap Seats

The arrival of Shelby Miller means times, they are a changin'

I sure hope that Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter is ready to pitch a full, healthy season in 2013.

Otherwise, the Cardinals and their fans might be in for an accidental rebuilding phase.

While I think it's great that the Birds have so many good, young arms in the high minors these days, I think that is likely to be a contributing factor to the Cardinals not signing any more veteran help for the near future.

Why?

Well, because Shelby Miller was called up for September, I find it hard to believe the Cardinals are going to send him back to the minors in 2013 -- at least not for an extended period of time. Why would they let him burn time in the minor leagues now that his free agency clock has been started?

Beyond Miller, the Cardinals have youngsters Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly in the rotation mix. So, with Carpenter, Wainwright, Garcia and Lohse under contract -- and three young players vying for one spot in the rotation -- the Redbirds aren't going to waste any money on an established starter like Kyle Lohse. 

I can certainly deal with a Carp, Waino, Wesbrook, Garcia and Miller rotation with Lynn and Kelly shoring up the bullpen. But what if Carp can't pitch. Then Jake Westbrook is your number two. That's not good. That's not good at all.

It seems like a pretty precarious position for the team to place itself in with Wainwright coming off Tommy John surgery and Carpenter spending a year lost in the woods with shoulder problems. So if one of those guys goes down, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Birds try to get rid of some of their middling veterans and fill the rotation with the kids to see what they can do.

I want to see what they can do. But I don't see any reason for the Cardinals to start from scratch. They have enough capital to rebuild on the fly, using money they'll save when Carpenter retires, Carlos Beltran's contract expires and the savings from letting Lance Berkman go to keep a solid core, then fill in the spaces in between with the kids.

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