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.