Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter allowed four earned runs on nine hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings on Saturday evening with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. It was his second minor league rehab start and he looked even worse than he did in his rough debut last week at Double-A Springfield.
Carpenter spoke to reporters — including Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — right after Saturday’s outing and acknowledged a feeling of disappointment about his lack of effectiveness:
“I have a long way to go before I can get outs up there,” Carpenter said. “If I can’t get outs down here, never mind getting outs up there. I didn’t feel like I was as sharp as I needed to be or should have been. It wasn’t what I was looking for.
It’s not fair to the ballclub. It’s not fair to our team. It’s not fair to our fans. The name on my shirt and whatever I’ve done in the past doesn’t give me a free pass to go out and take somebody’s job up there. If I’m not going to help, I’m not to go up there and embarrass myself. I’ll tell you that right now. I’ve got to get sharper — bottom line.”
Carpenter has experienced no shoulder discomfort and his fastball has been clocked as high as 95 mph, but his stuff overall has not been sharp. 10 of the last 14 hitters he faced on Saturday night reached base.
Joe Kelly will continue acting as St. Louis’ fifth starter. Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha are options.
Bob Klapisch of The New York Times reports that free agent starter Gerrit Cole has a seven-year, $245 million contract offer on the table from the Yankees. As Klapisch also notes, the deal would set a record for total value and average annual value for a pitcher, besting Zack Greinke‘s $34.4 million AAV and David Price‘s $217 million total.
While it is possible that Cole signs before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday, clients of Scott Boras have tended to sign later in the offseason, so this may be a protracted process with today’s report as a jumping-off point. Both the Yankees’ and Angels’ front offices have received clearance from ownership to break the bank to sign Cole.
Cole, 29, could not have timed having a career year any better. During the regular season, he led all of baseball with 326 strikeouts and led the American League with a 2.50 ERA while also posting a 20-5 record and walking only 48 batters across 212 1/3 innings. He performed brilliantly in the playoffs as well, holding the opposition to seven runs on 21 hits and 11 walks with 47 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings of work as the Astros narrowly missed out on winning another championship.
Cole is entering his age-29 season, so a deal of at least seven years would take him well into his mid-30’s. Teams, especially lately, have been hesitant to commit to pitchers, but as the Nationals showed with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, sometimes it leads to a championship.
For what it’s worth, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports says the Yankees haven’t made a formal offer to Cole yet, though the club plans to make one this week. During this time of year, both sides — front office personnel and player agents — leak details to the press to help establish leverage. What we can generally take from this is that the Yankees are hot for Cole and he’s going to get a record-setting contract from some team, even if it’s not the Yankees.