The St. Louis Cardinals enter the offseason with four of their five starting rotation slots accounted for, but the final spot will be up for grabs, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
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.
According to Goold, the Cardinals’ first four rotation spots are expected to go to Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook. He adds that Garcia will have to prove healthy enough to avoid surgery on his ailing left shoulder.
Lance Lynn was again impressive for the Cardinals in 2012, and he would appear to be the front-runner for the final spot in St. Louis’ rotation. The 25-year-old maintained an ERA of 3.78 over 35 appearances, including 29 starts, spanning 176 innings.
However, Goold says the Cardinals figure to put the incumbent against several other young arms to create a competition for the final rotation spot. The other pitchers that figure to be involved include Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller.