Derrick Goold offers an update on what St. Louis Cardinals 3B/1B/OF Matt Carpenter has been doing during the offseason.
Aug 25, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter (13) throws out Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart (not pictured) during the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Image Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Carpenter has been busy in the few short months since the offseason started. For Carpenter, this will expand his potential for playing time next season. After what we saw this past season from him, it is nothing but a good thing. Carpenter can play third base, first base, and the outfield at the moment. He’s a natural first baseman and feels comfortable at that position.
However, if Carpenter can find some comfort at second base, he can see some regular playing time at the position or even spell another player at another position. For the Cardinals, Carpenter is better off at playing regularly as opposed to coming off the bench.
It’s possible that, given the amount of positions that he plays, Carpenter could be a super-utility player like John Mabry was back in the day. I can see him being more than what Skip Schumaker was over the last few seasons as he was limited to outfield and second base. The fact that Carpenter is able to play third base, first base, and one of the corner outfield positions is to his advantage.
Carpenter spoke to Goold on the phone:
"“Obviously I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said I didn’t want to be out there every day,” Carpenter said in a recent phone interview. “The reality of that at the positions I really play isn’t very good. If I’m going to be a guy who plays every day, it’s going to be second base, not third or in left field or right.“I want to win that job. And worst case, if I can only be adequate (at second base), I could still get a few extra games out there and instead of 300 at-bats, I’ll get 400 at-bats.“If I can earn their trust out there at second, that’s possible.”"
Whatever happens, Carpenter could be seen as filling a stop-gap for the 2013 season as Kolten Wong‘s ETA is at the end of the season, if not the start of 2014. A lot can happen between now and then, we just have to wait and see.