With the designated hitter in play, Carpenter, at age 34, will assume that role on occasion, opening the door for Tommy Edman to see more time at third, where he did quite well this past season when Carpenter was sat down. Carpenter is a big fan of the versatile switch hitter who captured fans’ fancy last year. “We can get Tommy a lot of at-bats, and he could do it at seven positions,” said Carpenter. “Since the Jon Jay-Daniel Descalso days, we really haven’t had a bench player you felt comfortable playing every day. He reminds me of myself when I came up in 2012. I had close to 500 at-bats. I wasn’t playing every day but I played a lot.”
The Cardinals have invested in Carpenter for this season and next at a total of some $36 million, and he’s going to get every chance to play. But Edman would be a suitable replacement, and lefthanded-hitting Brad Miller, signed as a free agent in February, could play third base, too. Miller, a six-season veteran with as many teams, played a lot of third for Philadelphia at the end of last season and while not particularly proficient defensively, his bat plays.
If Carpenter can hit .270 with a high number of doubles, as he projects, he will be the third baseman for 2020, and then the Cardinals would have to decide about what to do with him the year after.