Ace of Cards' title teams, Carpenter calls it a career
Cy winner in '05 lauded for leadership qualities, may take on new role with club
After a decade with the Cardinals, Chris Carpenter will retire from the starting rotation, where he served as the team's ace and the staff's clubhouse leader for most of his tenure. But the team hopes he will not be leaving the organization.
General manager John Mozeliak, who held a news conference on Wednesday alongside manager Mike Matheny and team chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. to announce a three-year contract extension for Matheny, made the announcement.
Mozeliak said the team would have discussions with Carpenter early in 2014 about him taking on a new role within the organization.
"I do believe there will be an opportunity for him to contribute in some way," Mozeliak said.
The 38-year-old right-hander, who won the 2005 National League Cy Young Award and finished third in the voting the following year, made just three appearances in the past two years because of multiple injuries.
"He will always be remembered as one of the great players in Cardinal history, having been a part of and a core piece of and without whom we wouldn't have been to a lot of these positions of four pennants and two world championships during his tenure here as the leader of the pitching staff," DeWitt said.
Carpenter, a three-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion and the 2009 Comeback Player of the Year, was drafted by the Blue Jays in the first round (15th overall) of the 1993 First-Year Player Draft. He won 49 games over six seasons with Toronto before he was released in 2002.
Carpenter signed as a free agent with the Cards that December, and he reappeared in the big leagues in '04, when he went 15-5. In each of his full seasons with St. Louis, he won at least 11 games.
But Carpenter missed most of the spring last year with shoulder and neck issues that later required thoracic outlet surgery, and he announced in February that the injury again would keep him out for the 2013 season.
Carpenter, who was set to be a free agent this winter, kept a role with the club despite never taking the mound this season and helped to mentor ace Adam Wainwright, as well as the rest of the team's talented young pitching staff.
"His leadership and leading by example I think created what we now see with the Adam Wainwrights of the world and hopefully what we see with these young guys like Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller coming," Mozeliak said.
Carpenter finishes his career with a 144-94 record and a 3.76 ERA, and a 10-4 record with a 3.00 ERA in 18 postseason starts.