Is Matt Carpenter the Long-Term Solution for St. Louis Cardinals at Second Base?

Jeff SucherContributor IIIApril 29, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 27: Matt Carpenter #13 of the St. Louis Cardinals attempts to field a one hopper in the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium on April 27, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

With all of the other problems plaguing the Cardinals lately, one thing they haven't had to worry about is who is running out to second base.

Matt Carpenter has done a nice job as the everyday second baseman for the Redbirds.  Has he been a second coming of Rogers Hornsby? Not so much.

But he has filled the hole and solidified the position for the moment.  His fielding is much better than I thought it would be, having never played the position. 

He's a world ahead of former Cardinal Skip Schumaker in making the transition to second base.  However, Carpenter has played the infield before, so he did have a leg up on Schumaker.  Carpenter has made two errors in his first 23 games, but for the most part looks comfortable in the field.

The transition to being the everyday second baseman hasn't affected his offense.  He came into Monday's game batting a solid .273, but much more impressive is that Carpenter was tied for the league lead with 21 runs scored.

In my humble opinion, he has done everything the Cardinals have asked of him, at least to this point.

But with a true second baseman in Kolten Wong simmering in Memphis, is Carpenter the long-term solution for the Cardinals at second base?

My answer: Maybe.

A lot will be determined about how the Cardinals move forward at second base as the 2013 season moves along.  If Carpenter can continue to be solid in the field and continue to get on base and create run opportunities, he deserves a good look.

The other side of the coin is how Wong does at Triple-A Memphis this season.  Currently, he is batting .291 and has produced a .299 career average in the minor leagues with 33 stolen bases in just over two seasons.

Wong has a career .974 fielding percentage in his minor league time.  Carpenter thus far, in his limited sample size, is sporting a 1.000 fielding percentage in his 62 chances coming into Monday's game against the Reds.

So as the season plays out, it will become clearer who the Cardinals will look to man second base for years to come.

If Carpenter stays steady and healthy, it would be hard to imagine the Cardinals going a different direction in 2014 and beyond.

If that is the case, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak ought to look long and hard at using Wong as some trade bait to tourniquet the massive bleeding that seems to be finding the St. Louis bullpen the last few years.

Right now, it is Matt Carpenter's job to lose, and it doesn't appear he has any plans to relinquish his post.