Today’s news that Chris Carpenter is unlikely to pitch in 2013 and may end up retiring seemingly opens the door for the Cardinals to bring back Kyle Lohse.
After all, Lohse remains unsigned as the draft pick compensation attached to his free agency has scared teams off and the Cardinals wouldn’t have to forfeit a pick to welcome him back (although they would be forfeiting whatever pick they might end up with if he signed elsewhere).
However, when asked about that possibility general manager John Mozeliak said: “Right now, we’re comfortable with what we have.” When pressed further, he said: “I don’t want to get into specifically talking about one player.”
That could change, of course, but there’s plenty of reason to think that’s not just a smokescreen. St. Louis has a pair of really good, MLB-ready pitching prospects in Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal, as well as Joe Kelly who did well stepping into the rotation last year. Those three could compete for one spot behind Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn, and Jake Westbrook.
There’s no doubt that losing Carpenter is a big blow to the Cardinals and takes a big chunk out of their outstanding rotation depth–particularly if Garcia isn’t ready for Opening Day following shoulder problems–but they’re as well prepared as a team could be to handle the loss.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.