Well, this changes things.
According to B.J. Rains, GM John Mozeliak said that Chris Carpenter is still experiencing discomfort in his right shoulder and its "very unlikely that he will pitch in 2013."
In addition, Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch is reporting that Carpenter's career is likely over.
If so, it is a sad end to one of the true big game pitchers in Cardinal history.
Carpenter would end his Cardinals career with a 95-44 record (.683 win %) and a 3.07 ERA. He was also 10-4 in the postseason with the Cards, including 3-0 with a stellar 2.00 ERA in 4 World Series starts.
This might also explain why we have not heard any rumors regarding the Cardinals trading away any of their pitching depth for help at short or second. What once was a strength is fast becoming an area of concern, especially with questions still surrounding Jaime Garcia's health.
With the loss of Carpenter, it pretty much guarantees that Lance Lynn will be in the starting rotation, with the 5th spot likely coming down to a competition between Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal and Joe Kelly. Miller may have an advantage, due to his higher upside that the other two. But you cannot discount the work that Kelly did in 16 starts last year, nor can you forget about Rosenthal impressive performance in the postseason.
In any case, it certainly should make for an interesting competition this spring and one to definitely keep an eye on.