I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the Cardinals were dealt a crushing blow when they found out 2010 Cy Young Award runner-up Adam Wainwright would require season ending surgery. When you hear the phrase “Tommy John Surgery,” thoughts of a lost season immediately creep into your mind.
With their ace out, the Cardinals will have to rely primarily on Chris Carpenter, the 34 year-old 2005 Cy Young Award winner. He’s made a bit of a renaissance in recent years after a couple of injury plagued seasons, throwing for 235 innings in the 2010 season, second highest of his career. With his age creeping into the mid-30s, however, one has to wonder just how much he has left in the tank.
One promising sophomore surprise may hold the key to salvaging this season. Jaime Garcia, who went 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA in his rookie season, has a bright future. If batters haven’t figured him out yet, a couple of good starts in the beginning of the year might give him the momentum and confidence boost that pushes him to greatness all season long.
It will be interesting to see what the Cardinals plan to do with Wainwright following his return after this year. His contract officially expires after this season, but the club has an option for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Interestingly, though, there is one unique line in this deal that may come into play:
“[The Cardinals] must exercise 2012 and 2013 options at same time, but may void if Wainwright is on disabled list with arm injury at end of 2011 season.”
If the brass thinks that Wainwright can return to his old, Cy Young-caliber self following a daunting rehabilitation period, then there’s a good chance we’ll see him back in a Cards jersey in 2012. If not, then who knows?
And there’s still the little matter of retaining that Pujols guy.