In addition to the Mike Matheny contract extension, the Cardinals press conference this afternoon spun out another news item: general manager John Mozeliak telling the public that Chris Carpenter has told the team he is retiring.
This is no surprise. Carpenter didn’t pitch at all in 2013 after experiencing continued numbness in his pitching hand, the result of injuries and surgery which never did get quite right for him back in 2012. It was reported last month that Carpenter was likely to retire, and now it’s official.
Carpenter finishes his 15-year major league career with a 144-94 record, a 3.76 ERA (116 ERA+) and 1,697 strikeouts in 2,219 1/3 innings. He won the National League Cy Young Award in 2005 and earned World Series rings in 2006 and 2011.
A plaque is waiting for him in the Hall of Very Good.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.