July 30, 2008

Flores optioned to Memphis, Carpenter activated

In order for Chris Carpenter to pitch tonight, the Cardinals had to make room the roster. Randy Flores got bumped to accomplish Carpenter's activation.

The left-handed reliever has been having a hard time for most of the season. To add injury to insult, Flores had an ankle injury that landed him on the 15-day DL. Since rejoining the active roster, he struggled as much as before, and even tried an alteration in his mechanics with the help of pitching coach, Dave Duncan. It didn't work.

The demotion doesn't have to be a bad thing, however. Flores can now work at the Triple-A level in Memphis and deal with mechanical issues with less pressure to perform. It would be surprising if Flores didn't return to the parent club at some time before September. He would certainly make it back to St. Louis after September begins, when rosters expand.

Flores's departure continues to emphasize the point that the Cardinals could not only use a reliever currently on his game, but a lefthanded talent as well.

With the trade deadline within a day, the Flores move to Class AAA might be a hint at a possible direction of any trade deals, especially when the Cards could have sent down Nick Stavinoha. Joe Mather was another possibility, but he has been hitting of late, catching La Russa's eye, who often rewards production with further playing duties.

In any event, this Flores deal is done (for now), and Chris Carpenter's first mound appearance on a major league field in almost two years is sure to overshadow, at least to some degree, the speculation of an eleventh hour trade.

Then again, if Carpenter should run into major difficulty on the hill tonight, the Howie Mandel analogy will come to the fore: Deal ... or no deal!
photo by Barbara Moore