Matt Carpenter has made it clear he does not want to be a part-time player for the Cardinals. Could he be their starting second baseman?
The status of Matt Carpenter has been one of the biggest storylines of St. Louis Cardinals camp. Where he will play, what his role will look like, whether he will be an everyday player this season. They are all perfectly reasonable questions that will have answers some time this month.
Carpenter, of course, does not think he is a part-time player. He recently had this to say on the matter: “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 a three-time All-Star. He finished fourth in MVP voting in 2013 and has been on the Cardinals’ major-league roster since 2011. His best year came in 2018 when he hit .257/.374/.523 with 36 home runs and 81 RBI. He has defensive versatility, having played almost every position in the infield (besides shortstop) and most outfield positions (besides center field).
This year, Carpenter is competing with Tommy Edman for playing time at second base, with president of baseball operations John Mozeliak telling MLB Network Radio that the “best-case scenario” is that Carpenter wins the second base job.
“He was an All-Star there years ago, but has done it,” Mozeliak said. “He does have some confidence at that position. Matt is looking at this kind of opportunistically. I know he’s excited about the challenge.”
Whether Carpenter can take hold of the position this spring will be an important storyline. But the fact that Mozeliak is publicly saying there is a chance he can win the job indicates that the second base spot is truly up for grabs.