The news broke earlier today that Chris Carpenter will not pitch in 2013 due to shoulder issues. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak added that he doubts Carpenter will pitch for the Cardinals again, hinting at the end of Carpenter's career. The immediate implications are significant. The Cardinals were counting on Carpenter to return to the top of their rotation after missing nearly all of last season with injuries. From a historical perspective, the Cardinals will once again say goodbye to one their all-time best players. Carpenter was the best Cardinals pitcher since Bob Gibson. In the span of 15 months the Cardinals have lost their manager, Albert Pujols and now Carpenter.
If the Reds weren't feeling good about their chances before this news, they definitely should be now. As Bob Nightengale (USA Today) points out:
Yes, the #Reds certainly have become the clear-cut favorite to win the NL Central.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 5, 2013
With Carpenter out, St. Louis will be forced to lean heavily on the arm of young prospect Shelby Miller. The 22 year old pitcher certainly comes with a lot of hype, and deservedly so. It's possible (likely even?) that Miller will be better than Carpenter would've been in 2013. Still, Reds fans know as well as any fans that young pitching prospects rarely produce great results right away. Likewise, how many innings can the Cardinals really expect out of Miller? As Will Carroll points out:
Shelby Miller threw 150 innings last year, his career high. Taking him far past that will be risky for Cards but have to now.— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) February 5, 2013
As much as Carpenter deserved the criticism he received here and elsewhere in "Reds country," he also dominated the Reds throughout his career. His 14 wins against Cincinnati is more than his total against any other team. For his career he posted a 2.55 ERA against the Reds. Not exactly Roy Oswalt domination, but still... It's nice to see him go, yeah?
Chances are Carpenter will end up in the dugout as a coach or in the front office in some capacity with the Cardinals. So fret not, you likely haven't seen or heard the end of Chris Carpenter's complaints.