Feb 28, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter (29) delivers a pitch during live batting practice at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Chris Carpenter's Neck: What Happens Now?

I’m not going to lie. I’m truly scared when it comes to the nerve issues that Chris Carpenter is dealing with in his neck. It’s not just because of the fact that he’s one of the St. Louis Cardinals’ aces with him being 1 and Adam Wainwright being 1A. It’s the fact that I just saw my beloved Indianapolis Colts suffer through an entire season without Peyton Manning. We saw what happened to the Colts. A number 1 draft pick but the end of an era.

A team can survive without an Albert Pujols. Sure, sure. I hear you. You’re thinking it will be next to impossible. That offense can be replaced by a few players at minimum. Even without Pujols, the Cardinals are definitely the team to beat in the National League Central.

But without a Chris Carpenter? You might as well say goodbye to any chance of making the playoffs. That’s what happened last season when Adam Wainwright was out for the season. Every baseball analyst wrote the Cardinals off at the time. Heck, the fans did so as well. I know I did.

Chris Ferguson has already offered his thoughts on the case, showing a conflict between phoning the agent of Roy Oswalt or giving Lance Lynn a chance to show what he can do as a start in the big leagues. Site editor Chris Carelli offered his own thoughts on how the Cardinals should deal with Lance Lynn or even Roy Oswalt.

Lance Lynn was a starter before going into the bullpen last season. Nevertheless, he cannot simply replace Carp. It’s impossible. While he was fully capable of performing in the minor leagues, it certainly is not the same as facing hitters at the Major League level of the game.

The Cardinals are going to have to make some moves if we eventually find out that Chris Carpenter will not be able to pitch a game this season. Maybe Shelby Miller comes to the pitching staff sooner rather than later? It’s certainly possible and maybe even inevitable.

Roy Oswalt, at the moment, is playing the waiting game. It’s possible that he will go as far as waiting until after the All Star break to sign with any team. He might not even play a single game at all this season. We don’t know. We won’t know for some time–if at all!

Having read Joe Strauss’ article this morning in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch leaves me feeling pessimistic about Carp being able to return this season. It’s sad. Look at all the injuries he has faced over the last decade. I hate to feel any pessimism when it comes to Chris Carpenter but that’s what I’m feeling right now. Even though General Manager John Mozeliak does not believe that there appears to be a surgical treatment to correct the problem, I got a slight feeling that there will need to be.

It’s the same issue that happened in 2004, 2008, and even 2010. Even though a surgical option was considered and rejected in 2008, I’ve got this feeling that it’s inevitable. All I have to do is remind you of Peyton Manning in 2011.

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Tags: Adam Wainwright Chris Carpenter Lance Lynn Roy Oswalt Shelby Miller

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