Chris Carpenter pitched a grand total of 21 innings in 2003, 2007, and 2008. He's injured nearly every part of the arm that can be injured. Last year, as the St. Louis Cardinals' ace by default, he threw 237.1 in the regular season—that led the National League—and 36 more in the postseason, which led Major League Baseball by eight innings. He is 37 baseball years old.
Luckily, from Joe Strauss yesterday comes word that the Cardinals appear to have the same obvious concerns Cardinals fans do—they've apparently discussed lowering his Grapefruit League workload as he prepares for what will hopefully be a seventh full season in 10 tries as a Cardinal.
This has always seemed like—at the least—an obvious consideration, and I'm glad it's one the embryonic brain trust has worked out. But for all that I'm not even sure it will have an effect—nothing, to me, still seems hazier in the world of baseball evaluation than trying to determine the reasons and timeline for a pitcher's total collapse.
Particularly when he's totally collapsed twice already.