THE MORNING AFTER: Now that I’ve had some time to digest all of this, here’s what I have to say about Chris Carpenter and the announcement made on Tuesday that he will be out for the 2013 season. There is no doubt that Carp has been the leader of the Cardinals over the past ten seasons. He might not have been on the mound every day, but when he was, it’s hard to argue there was a more competitive and fierce guy in the game. I remember watching him from my seat behind home plate in game seven of the 2011 World Series. After giving up two runs in a shaky first inning, he settled down and just dominated the Rangers’ lineup until he was taken out after a leadoff double in the seventh with the Cardinals up 5-2. I have been to a lot of baseball games in my life, and I don’t think I have ever seen anyone as intense as he was on the mound that night. He cared so much about winning, so much about performing for his teammates, and so much about never leaving anything on the field. He really gave it all that he had. Carp has been a role model of mine for some time now, and it’s a harsh reality that I will probably never see him on a mound again. As far as leaders go, I think it’s fortunate that the Cardinals have some guys who can step in. You know the names: Wainwright, Molina, even David Freese in his young age. The Cards have one of the most cohesive groups in all of baseball, and that has been a huge reason for their success over the past couple of years. While Carp might be gone and might be irreplaceable, I have full faith that he is leaving this clubhouse with the confidence that other guys can pick up the slack and lead this club to victory, once again. Thank you, Chris, for everything.
MATT CARPENTER BEGINS QUEST: Derrick Goold writes this morning about how Matt Carpenter has begun taking ground balls at second base with Jose Oquendo. I have a lot of respect for Matt. He is clearly putting in the work and wants to show the organization that he has what it takes to play every day at second base. However, as we have noted several times as of late, this is Daniel Descalso‘s job to lose. He is very defensively sound, and though he only hit .226 in 2012, I expect him to improve on that in 2013. He hit .264 in 2011 and has definitely shown signs that, while he may never hit .300, he has the ability to get on base and produce some runs. Unless Carpenter just completely blows everyone out of the water, I think it’s going to be very difficult for him to be out there on the field on Opening Day, assuming no injuries occur along the way.
BARRET BROWNING CLEARS WAIVERS: LHP Barret Browning, 28, cleared waivers on Tuesday and has been assigned to a minor-league roster, but will come to major-league spring training as a non-roster invitee. The Cardinals currently have 17 non-roster players planning to come to Jupiter. Browning was removed from the 40-man roster last week for infielder Ronny Cedeno. In 2012, Browning was 1-3 with a 5.12 ERA and 11 strikeouts over 19.1 innings.
SPRING TRAINING TV SCHEDULE: Fox Sports Midwest has announced that they will broadcast an all-time-high of ten Spring Training games this year. ESPN will also televise two games. FSMW will also air a 30-minute Spring Training Report special that premieres Monday, Feb. 25 at 9 p.m., and a 2013 Season Preview on Saturday, March 23 at 11:30 a.m.
RYAN BRAUN AND PEDS: As you have probably heard, Ryan Braun is also in the middle of this PED scandal surrounding Anthony Bosch. I think Buster Olney put it really well this morning: we are not human lie detectors. The more information that comes out about this, we are of course inclined to believe that Braun did use PEDs, but between an overturned drug test a year ago and vague information we have relating to this anti-aging clinic in Miami, it’s pretty bold to say “Yep, he did it.” As for where we go from here, Olney explains that Major League Baseball is on the case. From Olney’s article:
“Major League Baseball officials have asked the Miami New Times for the records the newspaper obtained for last week’s report. Miami New Times editor Chuck Strouse said Tuesday the paper had not yet decided how to respond, describing MLB’s move as a request and noting the league does not have legal subpoena power.”