It has been assumed that the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter will be a part-time player in 2021. Not so fast, he says.
Matt Carpenter is in a difficult position. After finishing ninth in the MVP voting in 2018, his numbers have steadily declined. His defense is subpar and he would likely be the designated hitter should it be implemented in the National League. Entering the final year of his contract, Carpenter is in a pivotal season in what will likely be his last with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The problem, as Miranda Remaklus of Redbird Rants recently wrote, is that there is no clear spot for Carpenter on the team. Nolan Arenado occupies third base. Paul Goldschmidt is entrenched at first base. It is highly unlikely he wins a corner outfield spot as the team appears set on giving its young players an opportunity. So Carpenter has been splitting reps at second base with Tommy Edman during spring training drills.
Yet, he is not willing to concede he is a part-time player entering his age-35 season, via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“Well, I don’t know if it’s been established that I’m a part-time player just yet,” Carpenter said. “There is a lot of camp left. There is a lot of season left. I’m going to go out and compete every day to be in our lineup. Who knows where that’s going to be? If I find a way in there it could be at a different position. That’s my mentality this spring — to go out and win a job.”
Carpenter, 35, is okay with being displaced at third base by Arenado. Goold noted that the two are friends and have talked about the possibility of being teammates for over a year. The addition of Arenado vaults the team into World Series contention and clearly makes the team better. Carpenter understands that.
But the likelihood is that Carpenter will be a part-time player in 2021. It may take all of camp to finalize it, but at this stage of his career, it is by far the most realistic option.