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.
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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.