Can we save the Carpenter angst until he is back and taking at-bats away from players who are performing better than he is?
Because, that's not happening right now.
In fact, he agreed to a longer stint in the minors than originally planned in order to get right.
Carpenter's OPS is nearly identical to Yairo Munoz's.
His on-base percentage bests both Munoz's and Tommy Edman's.
With him hitting a dreadful zip for 19 with 7 K's in six minor-league games, nothing suggests he should be immediately planted at third base without exception when he returns.
But let's also not conclude that Edman and Munoz are the hottest hitters on the planet, either.
Whatever you think about Carpenter, and I think we can all agree the extension was a mistake, we know he can get hot and go nuts at the plate for stretches.
The Cardinals would be silly to rule that out.
They would also be silly to just assume it's going to happen.
A solution is creating chances here and there for it to spark.
When he's back, you find him chances to perform, same as you do with left field and the options there once Ozuna is back and O'Neill, Martinez and others are available for starts in LF. Adjust accordingly. The Cardinals and their fans should hope Carpenter catches a groove, because Carpenter in a groove does a lot more damage than either Munoz or Edman.
But Carpenter, as he is right now, should not be starting above either, because Munoz and Edman are more dynamic players and have better speed. They're also both able to play different positions, meaning their appearances are not completely eliminated by chances created for Carpenter.
The answer is not black or white.
Carpenter doesn't look like a starter.
He still offers the most upside if he's right, or close to it.
So, don't eliminate an option when you don't have to.