Chris Carpenter could return as a reliever

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The Cardinals’ starting rotation is doing quite well thus far, leading baseball with an aggregate 2.07 ERA. Their bullpen, on the other hand, brings up the rear at 5.67. They have lost Jason Motte for the season as the right-hander will undergo Tommy John surgery. Mitchell Boggs’ stint at closer was short-lived as his 12.66 ERA in 10.2 innings earned him a demotion to Triple-A Memphis. Marc Rzepczynski, too, was demoted to Memphis with a 7.88 ERA. It’s ugly.

What are the Cardinals to do about their bullpen? According to Joe Strauss, John Mozeliak’s hope is that 2005 Cy Young award winner Chris Carpenter will be able to rejoin the team in the summer and serve the team as a reliever as summer approaches.

This is no stunt or pat on the head to a veteran unwilling to concede the obvious. Both parties believe Carpenter can potentially address the gash to the bullpen’s starboard side.

“I’m candidly optimistic and excited about him contributing,” Mozeliak says.

Carpenter remains on the team’s 60-day disabled list, meaning he can not be activated sooner than the end of this month. Though no formal timetable is in place, Mozeliak thinks a projected return in late June or early July reasonable.

Though not the norm, it isn’t surprising to see an injured starter returning as a reliever. John Smoltz is an example that immediately comes to mind. Livan Hernandez pitched out of the bullpen last year with the Braves and Brewers after having made 474 consecutive starts between 1997-2011, though not with much success.

Diamondbacks say they’re not rebuilding

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Despite losing Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock to free agency, then trading Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals, the Diamondbacks insist they’re not entering a rebuilding mode, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.

Most likely, this is just the D-Backs saving face publicly given how much contention there has been between ownership and the players’ union over teams aggressively not competing. The D-Backs aren’t expected to be in the running for any of the bigger-name free agents, so it’s going to be very tough to replace the production lost from Corbin, Pollock, and Goldschmidt. The smart money is still on expecting the D-Backs to continue trading away players like Robbie Ray and David Peralta. Greinke might stay, but only because of his contract, which still has three years and $95.5 million remaining.