|The Cardinals’ desperate pursuit of a third baseman led them to acquire light-hitting Pedro Feliz from the Astros. In exchange, Houston gets reliever David Carpenter, a 25-year-old righthander who began life in pro ball as a catcher.
St. Louis acquired Feliz for his glove. Though he’s 35 years old, he remains a steady defender at the hot corner, certainly moreso than Allen Craig or Felipe Lopez, whom the Cardinals had turned to since losing rookie David Freese to season-ending injury.
Feliz used to be good for 20 home runs a year, but those days are long gone. His slugging percentage has atrophied every season since 2007, falling from .418 to .402 to .386 to .311 this season. Feliz never has topped a .308 on-base percentage in a season of 400 or more at-bats, and his .243 OBP this year actually is lower than Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright’s .264. Yes, it appears that shortstop Brendan Ryan’s stranglehold on the No. 9 spot in the order, batting behind the pitcher, might be in jeopardy.
|David Carpenter, rhp
Born: July 15, 1985 in Morgantown, W.Va.
Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 200. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: West Virginia.
Career Transactions: Selected by Cardinals in 12th round of 2006 draft; signed June 13, 2006.
Carpenter lived up to pre-draft expectations as a top defensive catcher with suspect hitting ability. Carpenter threw out 45 percent of basestealers in 2008, his final year behind the plate, but batted just .208/.266/.289 with two home runs in 308 career at-bats. The Cardinals switched him to the mound in the second half of the ’08 season, putting him on the same career path as Jason Motte, who went from light-hitting catcher in ’06 to the big league bullpen three years later. Carpenter doesn’t quite have Motte’s raw arm strength, however, as he pitches at 91-95 mph with a fringy slider. It may be enough to get him a big league look in the next few years, provided that his control gains this season are for real. With 2.5 walks per nine innings, Carpenter has nearly halved his rate from last season.
|Pedro Feliz, 3b
Age: 35. Bats: R. Contract Terms: Signed 1-year, $4.5 million deal with Astros in December.
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.