Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fantasy Focus: Chris Carpenter's Career Over?

Yesterday, the St. Louis Cardinals held a press conference to announce that Chris Carpenter will miss the 2013 season due to recurrent symptoms in his arm after last year's surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.  You may recall that TOS is the condition that the Giants medical staff supposedly missed in Noah Lowry, but I digress.  While they did not announce Carpenter's retirement, this is probably more due to contractual factors than any hope he might comeback as the Cardinals clearly referred to his career in the past tense.

If, in fact, this is the end of Chris Carpenter's career, it has been a stellar one.  Not HOF stellar, but stellar, nonetheless:  15 Seasons, 144-94 W-L with a 3.76 ERA, Cy Young Award(2005), 3 time All-Star, pitched on 2 WS championship teams.  His career might have been even more impressive had it not been for numerous injuries that caused him to miss the better part of several seasons including 2002 and 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2012.  He underwent 3 major surgeries:  Shoulder 9/2003, TJ 2007, and the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery in 2012.

Carpenter was a highly regarded prospect for Toronto.  He pitched well at times for the Blue Jays but was inconsistent and shuttled between the rotation, bullpen and DL.  The Blue Jays waived him after his 2002 shoulder surgery and the Cardinals claimed him.  He then missed all of the 2003 season but rewarded the Cardinals patience with a breakout season in 2004.  His career flourished with the Cardinals where he amassed a 101-44 record including a 6-2, 2.94 ERA in post-season competition.

So, what is the Fantasy Focus here?  A presumed healthy Carpenter would have made a nice middle round target in fantasy drafts.  That's is now gone.  The news opens up a rotation spot for a young Cardinals pitcher.  Shelby Miller is the most likely choice with Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal as possibilities.  Miller would have immediate fantasy value as a likely later round draft pick with a high ceiling.  Fantasy managers should keep a close eye on Trevor Rosenthal through the spring and may want to consider drafting him as a late-late round flyer.  He will give you great numbers as a middle reliever with the possibility of moving into the rotation mid-season if there is an injury or Miller stumbles.


  1. Totally off-topic, apologies:

    I was over at the Hard Ball Times site, and they were noting "Day-verseries."

    This is an event that happened x-1000 number of days before (1,000 or 3,000 etc.). Kind of a fun way to remember baseball events in the winter.

    Anyway, February 6th is the 1,000th Day-versery of Mat Latos, beating the Giants 1-0 on May 13th, 2010. More on that in a sec. But to further set the tone, two days earlier:

    Latos had engaged in pregrame antics, antagonizing Giants fans during BP and throwing that baseball into the player parking lot, breaking Dave Flemming's sunroof. So fans were pretty irritated with Latos at the time.

    In the 1-0 victory Latos drove in the only run. And he threw a 1-hitter. This was the final game of a 3-game Padre sweep of Giants at home, pretty much securing the Padres place atop the division for most of the season.

    And, I'm not certain, but this may have been the series where Kuip coined "Torture."

    But…little…roller…changed everything.

    Eli Whiteside. Slow grounder to short, Eli busts his butt to first and beats it out to lead off the 6th. There goes the no-hitter. Next batter, Matt Downs, rolled into what should have been a DP, but Eli broke it up at 2nd forcing Padre 2B Lance Zawadski into a throwing error. Significant error in that people weren't talking about Latos almost throwing a Perfect Game against the Giants. (Latos didn't walk anyone that day).

    Great Giant, Eli was. If only for his performance that day, denying Latos what would have been a Perfect Game against us. Having Latos linked to us in that way would have been unthinkable.

    But even better is that the Giants have gone through Latos twice, in crucial games, on their way to World Series wins. And in doing so, BOTH times, the Giants eliminated Latos' team from the playoffs:

    Latos pitched (and lost) Game 162 in 2010. And he was the Game 5 starter (and loser) in Cincy in '12.

    Not that the book is closed on Latos, by any means. Lotta baseball left in that guy. But he was so close to just owning us. And now the tables have turned so completely.

    1. Hate to say it, but I wouldn't mind owning Mat Latos on my fantasy team.

    2. He's one of those guys you hate until he's on your team, then you like him. Only guy I can remember who that wasn't true of was AJP. Hated him even more when he was on the Giants.

  2. AJP is the stuff of legend. I STILL want to believe Michael Barrett had a reason to sucker punch him. Just cause.

    Yep. Latos is an outstanding pitcher. And fantasy teams make strange allies.

    Hey Doc, I have a completely unsolicited idea. What do you think about running next years Top 50 in reverse order? Start with #50 and kind of build momentum heading toward P&C reporting. I know marketing, flash, pizazz and shiny stuff aren't your thing. But it might be fun. Just a thought.

    1. I will certainly consider it. If you want to know the truth, my favorite part of the top 50 list are the last 5 or 6 and the Honorable Mentions. Most of them prove to be pretenders rather than contenders, but every one of these guys is a very good ballplayer and has something that stands out about them. You just want to root for them.

    2. I like that idea a lot. Only the most obsessed stay on to the end, most the action is the first third. It builds anticipation for opinions, and if you didn't publish your full list first, that could be some discussion topics. Then again, one of the main points is to get familiar with the prospects, not nitpick about where they are on a list. So its a mixed bag.

      Maybe next year Relaford cracks the top 50!

    3. I didn't really need a reason from Barrett, we've seen enough of AJP to know that there must have been a pretty good reason.

      What AJP said in the playoffs just made me want to puke. I've generally been very "rah-rah" about Giants, ex and current, but AJP is one of the few to rub me the wrong way afterward enough that I'll always hold bad feelings towards him. Bobby Mercer also earned my enmity as well.

      Though I will admit that I'm softening on Kent, though not fully enough to welcome him yet with open arms. With every interview, I realize that he's just a big goof who likes to blow off steam, not some mean person who is just mean. That makes him seem more like he's slimy than just simply mean.

    4. I see the benefits of going backwards, but must admit that I'm more the guy at Christmas wanting to open the Christmas gifts first, so I stay up trying to catch my Dad bringing out the presents (never succeeded, alas...).

      I'll be OK either way, and I guess by posting, that makes us the obsessed that Shankbone talked about. Oh yeah, my name.... :^D

    5. The host site for this blog keeps track of site visits and it has stayed strong through the entire list so far, for what it's worth.

    6. Any way you do it Doc, totally works for me.

      I'm here many times, just passing through on my way to the links. I know. Completely lazy.

    7. Speaking of host site, I wish you could move this site to another host. Did you know that your site is banned in China? I believe all blogspot sites are. Anyways, I was on a business trip during NLCS and the beginning of the WS. I was having serious withdrawal symptoms. Couldn't wait to get to Hong Kong so I could access this site again.

    8. Well, I don't think I can try to outguess what host sites are going to be banned in China.

      From time-to-time I incorporate suggestions from readers into the content of what I write about and how I write it, so I'm open to suggestions. Working backwards on the Top 50 list is certainly something I will consider next offseason, God willing, of course.

  3. OT: Didn't know where to put this, so I chose this since it is about other pitchers:

    King Felix signed to 7 year, $175M deal (avg. $25m per), but he already had 2 years left at roughly $20M per, so it is a 5 year extension and raise for those two years. That raises the stakes for the Giants trying to sign Lincecum to any long-term deal, to at least $25M per demand on their part, and they probably would push for 7 years but settle for 5 years. Timmy will need a heck of a year to get the Giants to sign him before he turns free agent if he asks for at least that much (he is, after all, a 2 time Cy Young winner; King only has the one).

    Though I suppose that is in line with what Cliff Lee got, now that I think about it, per year, but he's older, this brings the high end price down to younger players (with age correlating with raises).

    1. King does not have the craptastic season on his resume that Timmeh has, though. I would expect Timmeh to get more along the lines of 5/110 if he has another BIG season in '13.

    2. Good point Cal. I love Timmah, but I think OGC is right in speculating Felix's deal raises the stakes on his future with the Gigantes. It would be prudent for the FO to approach Seattle's JackZ about a potential trade: JZ is getting heat, M's have $, and Chuck Armstrong seems to favor fan favorites over winning (something Sabes thankfully is not beholden to). Heck, Sabean is probably already doing his due diligence. Thanks again DrB for the great blog!


  4. I was preparing for Timmy to head out after 2013 for a while now.

    I think he pretty much perfectly qualifies for OGC's overpayment/93% premium on FA pitchers. And the subsequent underperformance.

    It's not clear how the rotation would replace him in 2014. (It doesn't like the young guns will be ready at that point.) But there's just too much overhead in the rotation, and Timmy, even with a bounce-back 2013, is just too suspect to commit over $100 million.

    I believe Tim's future is in the pen. But he'll almost certainly get a frontline starter money contract, and that will create issues down the road.

    Way too many question marks and potential issues.

    I've always thought that getting saddled with a Zito-type contract for a homegrown guy doesn't sting nearly so much. But we'll see if the Giants have learned from Zito. Timmy's numbers were very clearly in decline before 2012. And I think the Giants are more leery of long-term outlay for past (and unlikely future) performance.

    1. It's tricky, but I would note that the Giants won the World Series in 2012 without Tim in the rotation. So the key is getting a good enough pitcher who can help the team get into the playoffs, though not necessarily good enough to start in the playoffs.

      Heston, Surkamp, or Kickham might be good enough by 2014 to do that for us. I would expect the Giants to take a flier on a starter that off-season if they do no pursue Tim, much like how we had picked up Uribe, Torres, Casilla, Blanco, Arias.

      There are two key worries with that scenario. First is that Zito has been that good enough pitcher for us to get us there, but he's getting into his mid-30's. We have an option on his 2014 and as DrB has aptly noted, picking up that option is a no-brainer if he pitches as well as he has for us in recent years (when healthy). But what if 2013 is his down year and no option? Then we would be replacing both Zito and Tim.

      Compounding that is Vogelsong. He's already past his mid-30's. Every year, really, is a gift from above. He pitched so well in 2012 that I cannot imagine that 2013 will be a down year, but that's eventually going to happen. But if it does, then we potentially could be replacing up to three pitchers for 2014.

      So it could spiral out badly depending on whether the old guys hold up or not and/or the young guys breakout or not. I do hold out hope that Stratton might pitch his way up, but that is a long shot at best, nobody's like Lincecum.

    2. 2014 may well be the year of reckoning. (Maybe 2013...)

      If the Giants truly have the Cavalry (Crick, Blackburn, Stratton) coming, then I say, sit tight.

      Take the lumps, don't fill holes out of desperation. And that includes signing Timmy to a huge contract if he simply pitches adequately this year.

      FO said we've got the chops to replace Wheeler. OK, prove it. If not, take the bath for year, grab the draft choice, and prove it next year.

      As is to be expected, our pitching is getting either expensive or broken. We draft pitching. We develop pitching. And now we need pitching. Let's see just how good we are when we need to replace a lot of moving parts on the fly.

      I have faith in the process of seeing our system prove out.

  5. Vert området for denne bloggen holder styr på befaringer og det har oppholdt sterk gjennom hele listen så langt, for hva det er verdt.

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