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Chris Carpenter will not pitch in 2013 and is considering retirement

Feb 5, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT

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The St. Louis Cardinals just announced in a press conference that it is “very unlikely” that Chris Carpenter will pitch in the 2013 season after suffering physical setbacks during his offseason throwing program.

As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported a few minutes ago, Carpenter said earlier this winter that, if he suffered such setbacks, he would not attempt to rehab and come back and would likely retire. That said, Mozeliak just noted that the subject of retirement did not come up in his most recent talk with Carpenter. It’s also worth noting that Carpenter is in the final year of his contract with the Cardinals and is owed $12.5 million for 2013 if he does not retire.

General Manager John Mozeliak said that the issue is continuing numbness and “zingers” in his shoulder and neck, much like what he suffered last year.  Mozeliak says that his role going forward will as a “cheeleader” and a “mentor” but that he will not be pitching.

Carpenter’s career was often brilliant but just as often plagued by injury. Coming up with the Blue Jays, Carpenter missed ample time with various ailments, including shoulder trouble that effectively ended his time there. He finishined his career with the Jays with a 49-50 record in 152 games spread over six seasons. The Cardinals signed him before the 2003 season.

After missing all of 2003 with a torn labrum, he won 15 games in 2004. In 2005 he won 21 games posted an ERA of 2.83 and won the Cy Young Award.  He won 15 again in 2006, finishing third in the Cy Young race, but then the injuries came back to haunt him anew. He made one start in 2007 before being sidelined with bone spurs. While attempting to come back from that he tore his UCL requiring Tommy John surgery. 2007 and almost all of 2008 were a loss.

Back to form in 2009, Carpenter won 17 games, led the league in ERA and finished second in the Cy Young balloting. He threw 235 innings in 2010 and 237.1 innings in 2011, leading the league in starts each year. In Game 7 of the 2011 World Series, Carpenter pitched six innings on three days rest, leading the Cardinals to a 6–2 win over the Texas Rangers.

Carpenter missed most of 2012 following midseason surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He came back in September and pitched in the postseason.  But, in light of today’s news, that may very well be the end.

If it is the end, Carpenter finishes his career with a record of 144-94 and and ERA of 3.76 in 350 games, 332 of which came as a starter. He threw 2219.1 innings striking out 1697 batters while walking 627.  In the postseason he was 10-4, 3.00 with a K/BB ratio of 68/36 in 108 innings. He’s a three time All-Star, a Cy Young Winner and the 2009 Comeback Player of the Year.

Injuries often preclude greatness. It’s not often that you find a player who was plagued by injuries but, those injuries notwithstanding, can still be called great.  I think Chris Carpenter qualifies.  When he was healthy, he was a wonderful pitcher.  If he had remained healthy, we’d be talking about him as a potential Hall of Famer.  Some things, however, are just not to be.

  1. sfm073 - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    If he stayed healthy he easily would have been a hall of famer. He was the best pitcher not named Roy Holliday.

    • kirkvanhouten - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      Meh.

      Let’s pretend that Carpenter was health and had his average health *Cardinal* season in 2003, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013. (done by taking the average of his 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons). Add those to his career totals and you would get:

      223 Wins
      129 Losses
      3.53 ERA
      3309 innings
      2582 Strikeouts
      54.3 WAR

      In this best case scenario, he may have been a hall of famer, but certainly not *easily*.

      • kirkvanhouten - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:27 PM

        Alright people who comment via a thumbs down.

        This guy *isn’t* in the Hall.

        216 Wins
        146 Losses
        3.46 ERA
        3261 Innings
        3116 Strikeouts
        76.9 WAR

        He also has two World Series titles, and went 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in the postseason. And got 38.8% of the vote on his first HOF ballot.

        So, if that guy isn’t easily a Hall of Famer, please justify how hypothetical Chris Carpenter would be.

      • paperlions - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        Yeah, but that guy probably will be in the HOF eventually….I agree though, saying that without injuries someone would be a no doubt HOFer is hyperbole.

      • blues1988 - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        Considering the numbers u posted were for curt schilling, and he’s only had one year of eligibility means nothing. he will be in there eventually.

      • kirkvanhouten - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        “Considering the numbers u posted were for curt schilling, and he’s only had one year of eligibility means nothing. he will be in there eventually.”

        Did you read the whole comment or just get kind of bored halfway through.

        OP: “If he stayed healthy he easily would have been a hall of famer”
        ME: “In this best case scenario, he may have been a hall of famer, but certainly not *easily*.”
        Me#2: “So, if that guy isn’t easily a Hall of Famer, please justify how hypothetical Chris Carpenter would be.”

        I was debating with the use of the term “easily a hall of famer”.

  2. okwhitefalcon - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    We all knew this type of situation was going to rear its head at some point this year whether it be Carp, Garcia or more than likely – both.

    Welcome to Waino, Westbrook, Lynn, Miller, and Rosenthal/Kelly.

    Time to step up kids, it’s your turn.

    • blues1988 - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      this sucks. carpenter is such a beast and is one of my favorite cardinals. good thing we have a bunch of young hurler’s to take his place. kyle lohse is a free agent stil, think we go after him?

      • okwhitefalcon - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:52 PM

        This is a huge blow regardless of who’s waiting in the wings, we’ve got no clue how the youngsters will react/perform although it’ll be cool to watch unfold.

        As far as Lohse goes, that bridge is probably burned and he’ll land elsewhere as expected.

        That said, if I’m Mo I’m on the phone to Scott Boras yesterday.

        Who knows really,

      • paperlions - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        I agree falcon, I am excited that this gives one of the kids an opportunity….but it sucks that Carpenter is done. It would be cool if he sticks around as an instructor/mentor after this year….looks like he might make $12.5M this year being a cheerleader/mentor.

        How crazy would it be to have a rotation of Wainwright, Miller, Lynn, Rosenthal, and Kelly this year? That could be fantastic, catastrophic, or anything in between.

    • phillyphever - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      Or they can call Borass and see if Loshe would like to return.

    • okwhitefalcon - Feb 5, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      Paper sums up perfectly what we have to look ahead to:

      “How crazy would it be to have a rotation of Wainwright, Miller, Lynn, Rosenthal, and Kelly this year? That could be fantastic, catastrophic, or anything in between.”

      Is going to be crazy and probably “everything in between”.

      The trickle down of this will be beyond intriguing, this makes the fast track even faster for the likes of Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez.

  3. kanganzhu - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    If it’s true, it really is a shame we didn’t get to experience the fullness of his abilities. He was easily a top five in the league pitcher when healthy, and, if he could have had another 3-4 more healthy years, a Hall of Fame plaque would have likely be his.

  4. npmiller28 - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    This makes me sadder than when Albert left. Best wishes to Carp; he produced a lot of great Cardinal memories.

    • chumthumper - Feb 6, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      Crap. I’m running a fever, I have bronchitis and now this. Today officially sucks!

  5. digbysellers - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    I’m sure Nyjer Morgan will be at his retirement party.

  6. kirkvanhouten - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    Counting 2013, Chris Carpenter would have had 11 seasons under contract with the Cardinals.

    In 5 of those season, he played in 4 or fewer games.

    I mean, there were 3 pennants, 2 WS titles and 3 top-5 Cy Young award finishes…but damn, could that get hurt like it was nobody’s business.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 5, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      Yeah really. Not sure where the dude was coming from with his Ryan Howard noise.

  7. areyesrn - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Ryan Howard must be overjoyed…

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      Really? Overjoyed at someone else’s expense? I would venture to guess he is NOT overjoyed.
      To be overjoyed would be classless. Ryan Howard has class.

      • kirkvanhouten - Feb 5, 2013 at 4:49 PM

        Pffft, whatever. I’m sure Ryan Howard is delighted that a pitcher who he faced in 0.3% of his plate appearances suffered a career ending injury.

        I’m also sure Ryan Howard is currently beating up a child for his milk money and tripping an elderly woman for his own amusement.

      • mscxvd - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        Im assuming he is talking about the last plate appearence of the 2011 NLDS where howard was facing carp and injured himself.

  8. zipsports - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    My day just got a lot worse. Hate to hear this but loved all of the memories he has given us

  9. stlouis1baseball - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    Terrible news. Dude is/was a warrior. The workload that guy would take on. Sure…it certainly didn’t help him from a longevity standpoint. But the guy brought it when healthy. 2011 is a perfect example.

  10. Jason @ IIATMS - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    If this is indeed the end of Carp’s career, here’s to wishing him well in whatever he does next. A standout guy and a heckuva competitor.

  11. materialman80 - Feb 5, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Huge blow for this season…..

  12. hansob - Feb 5, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    first Webb’s officially done, and now Carpenter…

    Are you paying attention, Mr “$100M for a 4 year extension when I still have 2 years left on my current deal is a non-starter”?

  13. mscxvd - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    NO!!!!!!!

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 6, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      Yeah…I knew what he was getting at. Although his comment is laughable.
      Carp obviously had nothing to do with Howard’s injury. Some people had their feelings hurt because the Cardinals got fired up after the last out.
      The Outrage! A team getting fired up about going to the World Series. The nerve of some teams.

      • mscxvd - Feb 6, 2013 at 7:14 PM

        DAMN THOSE CARDINALS FOR CELEBRATING AFTER MAKING IT ONE STEP CLOSER TO THE WS!

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