photo: Chasen Shreve (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
In this past week’s St. Louis Cardinals news, Chasen Shreve has a contract to remain with the team for 2019, and while the MLB hot stove cooks on, there are no red-hot Cardinals rumors. In our weekly history feature, the St. Louis career of pitcher Chris Carpenter is remembered.
Cardinals reach agreement with Shreve, tender remaining arbitration players
The Cardinals announced prior to the non-tender deadline on Friday that they had reached an agreement to avoid arbitration with LHP Chasen Shreve. Shreve was a late July acquisition from the Yankees, who received first baseman Luke Voit and international cap money from the Cardinals in exchange for Shreve and pitcher Giovanny Gallegos.
The financial terms of the agreement with Shreve are $900,000 salary plus incentives, per Fancred reporter Jon Heyman. The left hander had a 3.07 ERA in 20 appearances with the Cardinals, but was underwhelming against left handed hitters, who posted a .911 OPS against him.
The Cardinals tendered contracts to their three remaining arbitration eligible players, Michael Wacha, Marcell Ozuna, and Dominic Leone. Both Wacha and Ozuna are in their final year of arbitration. Wacha lost his arbitration hearing with the Cardinals in 2017 and avoided arbitration this past season by coming to terms with the team.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
A free agent whom the Cardinals reportedly pursued, third baseman Josh Donaldson, agreed to a one-year, $23 million contract with the Atlanta Braves.
Heyman tweeted on Monday that the Cardinals have free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas “on radar”. The Cardinals have been connected to Moustakas in the past, including last season when signing him would have come with loss of a draft pick. No such impediment exists this season.
The Cardinals continue to be linked on the trade front with Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, as are the Houston Astros and potentially other teams. Derrick Goold writes that Goldschmidt checks many boxes for the Cardinals, including their preference to trade for a bat rather than sign one. Goldschmidt has only one year left on his contract, so acquiring him would be short term absent an extension. Goldschmidt bats right-handed, however, in conflict with the team’s preference for a lefty.
At this point, it is unclear the level of interest the club has in the top free agent in this year’s market, former Washington outfielder Bryce Harper.
The Memphis Redbirds managerial opening, created when Stubby Clapp was promoted to first base coach with St. Louis, will be filled by another Memphian who once played in the Cardinals system. Ben Johnson, who had been most recently been one of two Triple-A field coaches with Tampa Bay’s Durham affiliate, is the choice, according to a report from stlsportspage.com’s Rob Rains.
Members of The Cardinal Nation can read about a number of other changes pending announcement across the minor league system in this November 6 article.
- 11/26 The Cardinals sent RHP Derian Gonzalez outright to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 11/26 RHP Conner Greene was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals.
There is no new injury news to report.
The non-tender deadline has passed. The Cardinals reached an agreement with LHP Chasen Shreve, and tendered contracts to Michael Wacha, Marcell Ozuna, and Dominic Leone. Shreve seemed to be the arbitration eligible player who was most on the bubble for receiving a tender. The 40-man roster remains full; therefore any additions due to trades or signings will require further spots being made available.
The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 9-13 in Las Vegas. The Rule 5 draft is scheduled for the morning of December 13. If the Cardinals 40-man roster remains at its capacity, the club will be unable to select any players in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft.
January 11, 2019 is the deadline for clubs and arbitration eligible players to exchange salary information. This applies to Wacha, Ozuna and Leone if they do not come to terms with the team in the interim. Any arbitration hearings that become necessary will occur in February. Wacha and the Cardinals went to a hearing in February of 2017, the first for the Cardinals since 1999. The Cardinals prevailed in Wacha’s 2017 hearing. Wacha and the Cardinals avoided a hearing last season.
The annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up fan festival will be held on January 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis. Admission tickets are currently on sale, with autograph ticket sales opening on December 10.
Blast from the Past
In this week’s installment of the trade and acquisition series, a free agent addition rather than a trade is remembered.
This week’s Blast from the Past focuses on the signing of Chris Carpenter by the Cardinals in December of 2002. Carpenter was the first-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 draft. The right handed pitcher was the first player from a cold weather state, New Hampshire, to be selected in the first round.
Carpenter made his major league debut with Toronto on May 12, 1997 against the Minnesota Twins. At the age of 22, Carpenter struck out his first major league hitter, Paul Molitor. Carpenter made two more appearances and was sent down to the minors. He was recalled in July and remained on the major league roster for the rest of the season. Carpenter’s career with Toronto was inconsistent as was his pitching; he was moved from a starter to the bullpen multiple times. The right hander was also plagued by injuries in 1999 and early in 2002.
Carpenter had surgery in September 2002 to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. In October, Carpenter was released by the Blue Jays after he refused a minor league deal, making him a free agent.
The Cardinals signed Carpenter on December 13, 2002. Carpenter was still recovering from surgery at the time of the signing, and the Cardinals anticipated he would be ready by mid-season 2003. Unfortunately, after eight rehab starts it was discovered that he had re-torn his labrum. A second surgery was required, and Carpenter missed the remainder of the 2003 season. The Cardinals declined Carpenter’s $2 million dollar option for 2004, but negotiated a new contract with him for $300,000.
The new contract turned out to be a steal for the Cardinals, as Carpenter posted a record of 15-5 with a 3.46 ERA in 28 starts in 2004. A nerve problem in his bicep ended Carpenter’s season early in September and caused him to miss the postseason. He was voted the NL Comeback Player of the Year.
Fully recovered from the nerve problem for 2005, Carpenter posted one of the best seasons of his career, going 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA in 33 starts and leading the NL in complete games with seven. He received his first and only Cy Young Award that fall.
Carpenter finished third for the Cy Young in 2006 and received a five-year, $65 million contract that winter. He had a second place Cy Young finish in 2009.
Carpenter was instrumental in both the 2006 and 2011 World Series Championships. He pitched what was arguably one of, if not the best postseason games of any pitcher in the fifth and final game of the 2011 NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies. Carpenter was brilliant, going toe to toe with his good friend, the late Roy Halladay, in a 1-0 victory over the Phillies (pictured below). That spurred the Cardinals to an NLCS victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, and then to a World Series win against the Texas Rangers. Carpenter ended 2011 having pitched an NL-leading 237 1/3 innings.
Carpenter’s outstanding 2011 season came with a cost, however. Carpenter was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and attempted to rehab with a strengthening program. The program failed, and the right-hander finally had surgery in July. It was expected that Carpenter would miss the remainder of the 2012 season, but his recovery was speedier than anticipated and he returned to the mound in September. Carpenter won Game 3 of the NLDS but lost both Game 2 and Game 6 of the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants.
Carpenter did not pitch for the Cardinals in 2013, struggling with the return of shoulder issues. He made several minor league rehab starts in an attempt to return to the mound in May, but the shoulder discomfort returned and he was shut down. With his two-year, $21 million contract for 2012 and 2013 complete, Carpenter retired from baseball in October.
Carpenter’s Cardinals career was marred by many injury-plagued seasons, including 2007 and 2008 with the return of nerve issues as well as Tommy John surgery, his shortened 2012 and lost 2013. His struggles with chronic injuries throughout his otherwise outstanding career kept him from serious consideration for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In fact, he fell off the writers’ ballot in his first year eligible, but could still be considered later as a veteran.
But Carpenter is a Hall of Famer in the hearts of Cardinals fans, confirmed by his election to the team Hall in 2016. Carpenter will always be remembered as a gamer who gave his all to baseball and paid the price.
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