We are a week and a half into Spring Training with the first Spring Training games starting over the weekend. Make no mistake that baseball season is back.
It is too early to make any kind of preseason predictions for the awards that come at the end of the season. Just as well, it is too early to predict who makes the playoffs when we don’t even know who is making the pitching rotations.
One thing is for sure. Baseball will be missing the arms of Brandon Webb and Chris Carpenter. Webb, who has been dealt a bad blow with injuries, was one of the most dominant players in the game when he was playing.
In his prime, one could have said Brandon Webb would be inducted into the Hall of Fame and not be laughed off. After coming up with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2003, the former Kentucky baseball star was third place in Rookie of the Year voting.
His best years came in the 2006-2008 seasons, when he either won the Cy Young Award in the National League or was the runner up. The three-time All-Star ranked first in wins for the National League in 2006 and 2008 before he was injured in the 2009 season.
When I interviewed former Kentucky coach Keith Madison last summer, the subject of Webb came up. At the time, Webb was throwing bullpen sessions with the hopes of signing with a team during or after the All-Star break. However, Webb never signed with a team, and just a few short weeks ago, he announced his retirement from baseball.
With Chris Carpenter, it’s a different story. He refuses to say the word “retirement,” but make no mistake that the writing is on the wall. It was a surprise to many when Carpenter came back to pitch in September following surgery to remove a rib. Not many pitchers can say that they pitched a few months after removing a rib but Carpenter can.
Whether Carpenter will pitch again, I don’t know. One thing is for sure, the Cardinals will miss his leadership on the field.