Nearly 18 months ago, after the St. Louis Cardinals had signed Lance Berkman for 2011, I wondered if GM John Mozeliak wasn't already looking at plugging him in at 1B in 2012 and letting Albert Pujols go.
Well, whether or not that was a conscious plan of his, that's what happened.
Only thing is, Berkman's been on the shelf with injuries more than half the year this year. And now he needs knee surgery. I can't see the Cards resigning him next year, even if he wants to come back, which he might not. That's especially since he had surgery on the same knee in May. And, indeed, a possible retirement is the word out of St. Louis. (And I laugh while thinking of fluffers at ESPN touting him as a borderline Hall of Famer earlier this year.)
So, can Matt Carpenter duplicate his spot play performance from this year for a full year next year? The 2013 Redbird season may hinge in part on that, since I expect Carlos Beltran to be even more creaky next year, and not to play like he did in the first half of this year. (And that means, barring a free agent signing or a big arrival from Memphis, Allen Craig is playing more OF next year, so he won't be the sole replacement for Berkman at 1B.)