First the news was pretty bad: Chris Carpenter would probably miss the first months of this season, at least.
Then the news was worse: Chris Carpenter might need season-ending surgery.
Now the news is the worst, via MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch :
Chris Carpenter will undergo season ending surgery after recurrences of numbness and weakness made it evident that the right-hander would be unable to pitch through thoracic outlet syndrome this year.
Surgery is scheduled for July 19 and will be performed by Dr. Gregory Pearl in Dallas. According to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, the usual recovery time for such a procedure is 3-6 months. That leaves the Cardinals confident that Carpenter, who is in the first season of a two-year, $21 million contract, will be at full strength at the start of Spring Training in 2013.
It's not really appropriate to second-guess the Cardinals, who generally seem to know what they're doing. But this injury isn't new, first cropping up back in 2008. Or maybe $21 million over two years is simply the going rate for a pitcher with a pretty significant likelihood of missing a pretty significant chunk of time. Because of course the best reliable pitchers get that much for just one year.
Losing Carpenter for the whole season might nudge the Cardinals even farther toward joining the long list of teams looking for rotation help this month. But they're far from dead, either way.