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Sunday, October 28, 2012



Given health, the Cardinals could argue that all five spots in the rotation for 2013 are already spoken for as they leave 2012. They won't. The team plans to open at least one spot for competition, and there could be two spots open if Jaime Garcia is unable to use rehab and strengthening to avoid surgery on his left shoulder. A look at how the rotation turns for 2013, including the three veterans who have contracts that can expire at the end of the coming season:
2012: 0-2, 3.71 ERA, three starts
Career as a Cardinal
95-44, 3.07 ERA, 198 games (197 starts)
Contract: Will earn $12.5 million in final year of two-year, $21-million deal.
A sudden return from what was supposed to be season-ending surgery in July gave Carpenter valuable innings to contribute, sure, but also to test his health. He'll return as the Cardinals' ace next season and arrive at spring training after a normal offseason, optimistic that nerve issues have been surgically corrected and, for the first time since 2008, won't be a constant concern.
2012: 14-13, 3.94 ERA, 32 starts
Career as a Cardinal
80-48, 3.15 ERA, 214 games (151 starts)
Contract: Will earn $12 million in final year of six-year, $36 million extension.
In his first season back from elbow reconstruction, Wainwright muscled through early limitations and finished with 213 2/3 innings in 2012. His year ended with seven strong innings in his lone NLCS start, assuring the righty the only question going into the offseason and next year is whether the team can negotiate a deal that keeps him a Cardinal for the rest of his career.
2012: 7-7, 3.92 ERA, 20 starts
Career as a Cardinal
34-23, 3.43 ERA, 90 games (81 starts)
Contract: Will earn $5.75 million in second year of four-year, $27-million extension.
Shoulder troubles eroded Garcia's season and complicated his standing within the rotation. The lefty sought several opinions on a rotator cuff tear, and it was determined he could try to recover without surgery. The Cardinals will know by mid-November if that worked. Surgery or not, he enters 2013 with the club "holding our breath a little" for his health, GM John Mozeliak said.
2012: 13-11, 3.97 ERA, 28 starts
Career as a Cardinal
29-24, 4.18 ERA, 73 starts
Contract: Will earn $8.75-million in first year of extension that includes 2014 option.
The Cardinals' resident sinkerballer was unable to contribute in the postseason because of an oblique strain, one that he'd overcome by the end of the NLCS. That was a disappointing ending to his best season with the Cardinals, one that included 6 1/3 innings per start, his lowest ERA since 2004, and an extension that reworked his 2013 option into a potential two-year pact.
After an All-Star turn and a team-best 18 wins in the regular season, Lance Lynn is the incumbent for this spot. But the Cardinals plan to create a competition between Lynn (18-7, 3.78 ERA, 29 starts) and the three ascending talents who made their major-league debuts this past season: Joe Kelly (5-7, 3.53 ERA, 16 starts), Trevor Rosenthal (0-2, 2.78 ERA, 19 games), and Shelby Miller (1-0, 1.23 ERA, six games). They are the future. They could be the present.

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