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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Chris Carpenter’s contract extension: Pro and con

One could argue both sides of Chris Carpenter’s two-year extension for the 2012 and 2013 seasons at a reported $21 million.

Some see it as a benefit to the St. Louis Cardinals. The club keeps its co-ace for two more seasons and makes another move to hold its current roster together for another run or two. They save a few million dollars in 2012, perhaps as much as four, that can be deployed on other impending free agents.

Others consider it a reward to a long-time soldier, who has performed admirably for the organization for almost a decade. Carpenter’s personal career pinnacle was reached in 2005, when he took home the National League Cy Young Award.

Still others worry that it locks down a 2012 rotation of Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse, Jake Westbrook and Jaime Garcia, all of whom are on multi-year deals. This leaves no apparent room for trade acquisition and impending free agent Edwin Jackson to remain or for lefty Marc Rzepczynski to get a shot at starting.

The other side of the argument could be made that by locking down Carpenter, it might actually help the Cardinals unload one of more of their weakest links in Lohse and Westbrook. Still, considerable salary would have to be eaten.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Carpenter’s $21 million take over the next two years will be the same as Wainwright is set to earn. Some point out that Carpenter may have been able secure more money on the open market. Lohse is set to make $11.875 million next year and as such, could be the highest-paid starter on the staff. Westbrook is contracted to make $8.5 million in 2012.

The potential of eating some of Carpenter’s salary later is at the root of the concerns of some. They worry about the 36-year-old, who is in the decline phase of a very good career. Carp has struggled at times in 2011 (3.79 ERA versus his 3.10 Cards career mark and just 18 quality starts in 30 outings), but has also lacked run support on a number of occasions (his 3.9 runs of support per game is the lowest among Cardinals starters).

As a player with ten years of major league service time, including the last five years with the same team, Carpenter already enjoyed no-trade protection.

Finally, there is the issue of health. Pending any unforeseen problems during the final few weeks of the season, Carpenter has accomplished something he has never done as a major leaguer. 2011 marks his third consecutive season without suffering a major injury.

1999 – Elbow surgery (bone spur) – missed five weeks during season
2002 – Shoulder surgery (labrum tear) – missed 112 games
2003 – Shoulder surgery (scar tissue removal) – cut short rehab – missed entire season
2004 – Nerve irritation in upper arm – missed final two weeks plus post-season
2006 – Bursitis in shoulder – missed just 15 days
2007 – Elbow surgery (Tommy John) – missed entire season except for opening day
2008 – Elbow nerve transposition – pitched just 15 innings

Does Carpenter’s recent injury avoidance bode well for his future as he ages or is it a signal of potential trouble ahead? To some, it does not matter. What do you think?

Do you like the Carpenter contract extension?

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49 Responses to “Chris Carpenter’s contract extension: Pro and con”

  1. Bw52 says:

    I voted yes without a doubt.Sometimes you just take a chance because of a guys loyalty and character and leadership.Earlier this season i thought declining Carps option was a no-brainer and letting him leave.Now he has bounced back somewhat and he appears to be worth bringing back.Good move Mo.Now Mo figure out a way to get Jackson signed.

  2. crdswmn says:

    I wanted Carp back but I don’t see it as an either/or proposition i.e do we have to get rid of Westbrook or Lohse to keep Carp? Now, I wouldn’t mind unloading either, but I couldn’t vote keep Carp ONLY if we did lose one of them.

    I don’t want Jackson unless we can get him at a reasonable price. To sign him the Cardinals would have to overpay and there is NO WAY Jackson should be paid more than Carp or Waino, he is nowhere near as good as either.

  3. Bw52 says:

    Crdswmn-remember that Carp wasn`t that good when he came to the Cards.He had injury problems and was a cheap gamble by Walt.Nobody knows how and if Waino can come back and be effective.If Cards can get Jackson for a reasonable deal then why not? As much as i and some others would like Jackson back the general line of thought seems to be that Jackson goes FA and Cards get draft picks.

  4. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    “Should the Cards manage to keep Pujols, the club might have to trade away some salary at a later date. If veterans Jake Westbrook and Kyle Lohse keep pitching as they have lately, this should not be difficult.”

    Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/jeff-gordon/article_379ecfd0-dd42-11e0-8ea4-001a4bcf6878.html#ixzz1XlaeK2zu

    What does an expert like yourself Brian read into this statement????????? Or the McLain deadline as a response to Selig’s delaying tactics…………none of it familiar? Not even a little bit?

    • Brian Walton says:

      I guess it has to be kept simple for the masses, but as written, it causes me to wonder if the implications of dealing away salary are fully appreciated.

      For example, let’s take Lohse. Let’s assume that to get rid of him, the Cards would have to pay half of his roughly $12 million salary. We’ll not even add more in to help convince him to give up his no-trade protection. Then, you have the cost of his replacement. Let’s say Jackson could be had for $8 million (likely too low).

      So your very conservative costs are $6 million for Lohse plus $8 million for Jackson. For $14 million plus you name it, you get in return Jackson’s results. You have to ask yourself if the difference between the two players’ performance is worth at least $2 million more spent in a year when every spare penny is needed elsewhere. I am guessing the answer is “no.”

  5. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Sound thinking……….. a fair rationalization……….

    Some variables that occur to me while I was reading………… Scott Boras likes free agency……… he would likely treat any requests in the spirit of said consideration……….. there might even be payback issues ……..who knows…………………………………………. Jackson will be looking for 3 or 4 yrs…..and he will get it………. he will loose some in yearly salary but that still puts him in the 10$ million dollar per range…………….. an inconvenient truth……….. Carpenter’s agent wasn’t approached just recently……..more likely at a much darker time for Chris…….and a much more positive time for the emerging AP…… …………..its almost like someone was suddenly anticipating a public relations crisis……………and is starting to spend $ to avoid it…………………. Smart to avoid the Berkman issues….I guess…………… On a more positive note down memory lane…… Tony’s very complex role in all this is starting to show battle lines………….he is using his leverage at this point with some desperation………. the Jamie thing is just a little bit similar to the Colby thing…..messing with BD’s pieces…..ya think…… BD and allies playing high stakes at this point……….. this is a great time to watching this……………. and then there are those incredible Waldo’s leaking into the foreground…….

    • Brian Walton says:

      Right. I forgot to comment on the Boras angle. Since he has both Lohse and Jackson, it seems to me that he would rather leave Lohse right where he is and place Jackson elsewhere rather than burn up time on a Lohse trade that nets him no additional commission.

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        It is much more interesting than that even Brian…………. pay very close attention to the game tonight………….. the battle has now begun………….. a major story is brewing………… that is to say, I now see the end in sight……………. my wild prediction…….Lohse is working with even less leash than Westbrook……look for Tony to yank it at the slightest provocation………. If Lohse cruises 7 or 8 behind a lead………………. thats going to be a huge story……….come Tuesday………

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      This thread is an outstanding read………………. now that you have hindsight…………

  6. Brian Walton says:

    Monday lineup: Furcal SS, Jay CF, Pujols 1B, Holliday LF, Berkman RF, Freese 3B, Molina C, Schumaker 2B, Lohse P.

  7. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Most of you won’t be watching the Pirates feed………..in which they did all the camera angles into the dugout that were trying to divine the reason…logic? in the AP ab…………….. In case you missed it……………………….He missed the perfect hit and run ball…on purpose……. Tony was asking him about it……. he goes into the field ….gets a tailor made DP ball……. gives it the Olay……costing 2 runs…and we’re just getting started……….. scorer rules it a double…………… and we’re just getting started……

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      There was a moment here where the Pirates TV guys………….whose producer had them analyzing the Cardinal dugout when Pujols came back in after his “whiff”………..listen to it………. after Tony and MM had there questions dismissed by Pujols’ gesture up the third baseline…they said something up that way must have distracted him……………. funny moment……….. some crazy guy in the coaches box probably………….waving his hands around for some reason………….. bottom line…..AP has got the word from Lozano and he is an independent at this point ………… they know whats going on………… Tony is grasping at Mo’s phantom financing schemes…….which shows that he is desperate or resigned to his fate now…………… winning is no longer AP’s focus……. he senses Tony is finished. His numbers are his only goal at this point………….. Cards are -170 7.5 ………..easy money…….right………Braves were -205 today………………

  8. Bw52 says:

    Lip reading and mind reading are now among your self proclaimed skills now Westy?
    Or could it be just rampant speculation on your part?

  9. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    You ask how Holiday can hit into a DP on a 2/1 count?????????????????? was that another hit and run?

  10. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Braves were a 2/1 favorite……….they trail 2-0 in the forth………………. will Tony start making some moves?

  11. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Odd………..he throws a pitch up and away…avoiding an apparent hit and run call……… but then on a count where you would expect a hit and run……………… he throws a death pitch??? if he would of had a normal swing he would have hit a HR……..he had started the bat so he just stroked it……..

  12. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    No hit and run that time…………….Pujols was trying to go RC gap……….and missed it……oops…..
    Kyle says thank you………… will Lohse finish the 6th? This is where it gets interesting…….

  13. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Tony has lost his mind ……… people are starting to notice…….

  14. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Lohse is finished with 100 pitches………..looks like Dotel……..he didn’t exactly appear to be up……………….. if we got a couple of runners on……..a pitch hitter would look more credible.

    3 runs………really only 1 earned, and I predict he will be passed over for a start in Philly………

  15. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Tony puts in the bunter………..and then doesn’t bunt………clever…genius………… Furcal has another incidental sac ground ball…………..and now…….do we see Craig for Jay?????????

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      Good AB by Craig…………..to bad base hit never entered his mind………… the Cardinal coaches are losing control………… no discipline at all………..

  16. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Tony turns Doumit around………and forces him to do the right thing which he does……hit and run well timed……………. they have a good coach……..

  17. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Scrabble is going to be a starter………..right……so why match up ……….. pray for Salas…………

  18. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Punk call by Molina………..

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      He called for the pitch twice………Salas lost it the first time………and hung it the second……. was it Molina…….or did it come from the bench…………..

  19. RCWarrior says:

    This would be a tough loss if the cards don’t come back in this one.

  20. RCWarrior says:

    wow!!! Yadi is not fast.

  21. RCWarrior says:

    The cards battled back to make it interesting. Braves have also tied it up in the 8th. Gotta keep plugging away tomorrow and get back on the winning side.

    • friendmouse says:

      Seriously, I really do like you, RC. But…SERIOUSLY…are you truly rooting for the Cardinals to beat out your regional favorites, the Atlanta Braves, for the Wild Card?! If so, then I like you even more. But it makes me wonder why you’d still be a Cards fan…especially over the bravos. Maybe because younger son is in the Cards organization? Probably. But, being a Cardinals fan does put you in fine company…everyone KNOWS we’re the best baseball fans in the world! :)

      • RCWarrior says:

        Friend, I’m not a Braves fan per say. Tim Hudson is a friend of mine and I pull for him, and I have coached a few of the younger Braves when they were younger but I am a Phillies fan first. But I do pull for the cards to win now more than ever. You meet a lot of those guys and you can’t help but want them to do well and be successful.

        I definitely know Cards fans are the BEST and SMARTEST fans in the game. :) .

  22. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    http://interact.stltoday.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=824053

    this is how it starts Brian…………. truth be know…….I can stop it in an instant………. but I won’t….. I’m excited about it.

    • RCWarrior says:

      I always love the cards fans who continue to believe that if you don’t love it playing for the Cardinals that you must be some sort of crazy person all the while failing to see what is right before your eyes.

      Tough to play for Tony if you are not one of his guys. He has a core group of people who he will walk over hot coals for, and the rest are used every now and then as sacrificial lambs for the well being of the others. Man its crazy stuff. But I have beat this topic to death. I’ll get off my soap box.

  23. crdswmn says:

    All the second guessing going on on Twitter is effing hilarious. Media guys and fans back and forth. PR Molina? Punto not bunting? Why Corey Patterson? :D

    • RCWarrior says:

      I’ve never been a big fan of subbing out a bunch of your main guys after inning 7 of many games. It sure seems like this comes back to bite Tony way too may times.

      I’m sure he is just trying to involve the other guys but it sure doesn’t look good at the end when you have a Corey Patterson at the dish instead of a red hot Jon Jay.

  24. Nutlaw says:

    I was really happy to read about the Carpenter signing because I was worried that they were going to give him a lot more money than that! Jackson is going to make too much money and the draft picks are icing. Rzepczynski is the only person in the organization that even vaguely resembles a major league quality left handed pitcher, so he won’t be a candidate for the rotation either.

    Some of the younger guys might merit a crack at the rotation, however. Lynn?

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