Up until yesterday, there seemed to be some momentum building for Chris Carpenter to make a return in some capacity to help the St. Louis Cardinals during the stretch run. Most of us have been watching, and hoping, that Carp would be able to overcome the odds already placed on his season due to his injury, but with today’s news that he felt numbness in his throwing hand during his most recent AAA rehab start, it appears that the time may finally be at hand for him to call it a career.
You have to respect a guy that wants nothing more than to exit the game on his terms. He doesn’t want to exit stage left because his body broke down. It speaks to his tenacity as a competitor, and it speaks to the type of character that he exemplifies as a baseball player.
Nobody wants it to end this way. In an ideal world, Carp would somehow pull the proverbial Willis Reed and will his way back onto the roster to mow down the opposition down the stretch, ultimately ending with St. Louis securing their 12th World Series Championship. However, this simply doesn’t seem to be in the cards with this most recent setback.
What does this mean for the Cardinals though?
Outside of the obvious fact that we will not be seeing Carp toe the rubber in St. Louis anytime soon, it means that a very hard assessment has to be taken and something will most likely have to be done to find a veteran #2 type starter to lessen the burden on Shelby Miller and Lance Lynnduring this second half stretch run.
Personally, I was holding out a modicum of hope that Carp would indeed persevere through this rehab assignment and return to form if only because I would prefer to see the Cards hold on to as many of the highly touted prospects they have amassed as possible. While there is no guarantee that any of them will ever live up to the hype being bestowed upon them, the recent track record of success that many of the homegrown talents have shown at the major league level has me feeling good about what’s in store in the future and I’d hate to see a portion of that talent removed for a rental type veteran.
That said, one significant aspect of the minor league system as a whole is to supplement the major league club with the assets to improve deficiencies because in the end the goal is bringing home the hardware. I just hope that the Cards maintain their mostly level headed approach to personnel and don’t overspend in order to solidify their playoff chances.
This team is poised to do great things this season, but unfortunately it appears Chris Carpenter will not be an active part of what’s ahead. It’s really too bad, but one thing is certain: Chris Carpenter is going to do everything he can to leave the game of baseball on his terms.