The tale of Matt Carpenter’s tumultuous season with the St. Louis Cardinals is well documented.
Carpenter, 35, is hitting .081 through 10 starts, including seven starts over the Cardinals’ last nine games. The team has – and will continue – to preach patience that his numbers will recover as he is hitting the ball harder than most players around the game. But his opportunities to do that will soon drastically decrease.
With Tyler O’Neill back and Harrison Bader on the doorstep of a return, Carpenter appears to be the odd man out in the outfield. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak told reporters, including Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that “those at-bats are going to be more difficult to find if production isn’t there.
It’s a drastic fall for Carpenter, who has been one of the Cardinals staple players in recent seasons, and represents a low point in his career. He had already shown signs of declining and it’s why the Cardinals have moved him into a part-time role. But his production has been bad enough that the question needed to be asked whether there is a spot on the team for him.
Right now, Mozeliak says there are no plans to move on and eat the remainder of his two-year, $39 million deal. It is unlikely that changes considering the financial impact such a move would have. But it has become almost obvious that this is Carpenter’s last season in St. Louis and quite possibly his last in baseball.
It’s a sad ending for a player whose dominance carried the Cardinals in 2018. But in a season that clearly has World Series aspirations, they had no other choice than to slash Carpenter’s already limited playing time.