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.
Two guys who spent some time in the bigs but who have found more success in Asia have decided to stay in Asia.
Darin Ruf has re-signed with the Samsung Lions of KBO, per MLB Trade Rumors. Ruf, who played five years for the Phillies but didn’t really have the numbers to stick, has stuck just fine in Korea. In two seasons in the offense-friendly league he has hit 64 homers and has put up a line of .322/.412/.587. His new deal with Samsung will pay him a guaranteed $1.4 million with $300K in potential bonuses.
The other guy — Nick Martinez — has signed a $2.5 million plus incentives deal to stay with the Nippon Ham Fighters of NPB. The former Rangers starter went 10-11 with a 3.51 ERA for the Fighters in 2018. He was 17-30 with a 4.77 ERA in four seasons with Texas.
Maybe Ruf and Martinez still have U.S. major league dreams, but guaranteed bucks in the Korean and Japanese majors is better than signing minor league deals and riding busses here.