Roster Move: Lance Lynn to make debut

It was a big day for the Cardinals and roster moves. With his hip issue, Kyle McClellan will hit the 15 day disabled list. It is also expected that Matt Holliday will join him tomorrow with his quad strain. So what does that mean for the Cardinals?

With last week’s movement of Blake King and P.J. Walters off the 40 man roster (King being claimed by Houston and Walters staying in Memphis), that leaves the Cardinals open to a little roster flexibility that they haven’t had the rest of the season. Luckily, it hasn’t been needed. Until now.

I predicted, before knowing McClellan and Holliday would be hitting the DL, that the Cardinals would send Pete Kozma to Memphis to make room for Lance Lynn. Lynn would make his start on the weekend and then Lynn would return to Memphis and the team would reactive Nick Punto from the DL. Cardinals fans are thinking, if only.

Lance Lynn will get the call from Memphis. The 24 year old Lynn was the Cardinals’ first round pick in 2008. While he was fairly dominant in single-A and double-A ball, he has yet to really be superb at the triple-A level where he has floundered. He currently has a 4.06 ERA with a 5-3 record in 10 starts for the Redbirds. While his ERA is down from 2010, his WHIP is up. However, he has only allowed 1 home run so far this year. He will get the start against Jonathan Sanchez.

That will push Jaime Garcia and Kyle Lohse each back a day and allow Lynn to face the worst offense in the majors instead of the Cubs who are the #16 offense.

So that’s what we know. How about what we don’t know?

That would be Matt Holliday.

Holliday, the NL leader in batting average, is expected to be placed on the disabled list tomorrow. The question is really who gets the call at that point.

I would expect the leader to be Mark Hamilton. Hamilton, at 26, brings a left handed power bat to the bench. He is primarily a first baseman, but has played 7 games in the outfield in his minor league career and has made 2 appearances in right field for St. Louis during his stint there earlier this year. The only question to me, would be Hamilton’s .200 batting average. Do you try someone else or use Hamilton, whose options you have already burned?

With both Jon Jay and Allen Craig on the major league roster and a glut of guys like Pete Kozma, Daniel Descalso, and Tyler Greene who can play both second and third, and the realization that Tony Cruz can play third base too, the Cardinals can afford to have Hamilton on the roster. The guys on the roster now are versatile enough to make up for the lack of 5 true outfielders. I don’t see them adding a non-outfielder to the 40 man roster if they don’t need him now.

The other leading option would be Adron Chambers. The 24 year old, 38th round draft pick from 2007, Chambers is a favorite of Redbird Dugout’s Jerry Canaday. Chambers, however, has struggled this year, hitting just .233 with 3 homers as of stats from yesterday. However, it seems like he wants to be given the opportunity as he’s gone deep twice tonight for Memphis. His big advantage for St. Louis is that it would give them one more speed guy on the basepaths late in games. Right now Tyler Greene is the only true speed guy on the roster and without a big bat in the lineup, that could come in useful to help generate runs.

Another guy who would have to be added to the 40 man roster, is Andrew Brown. Brown is currently hitting .351 with 8 HR for Memphis. At 26 years old and drafted in 2007, Brown has shown power in his minor league career and has shown marked improvement with the bat every season. He’s also an outfielder.

The dark horse candidate could be good, old Nick Stavinoha. While he is tied with Brown for the Memphis lead in HR at 8, he doesn’t even have an OBP above .300. However, he is a LaRussa favorite and has plenty of major league experience coming off the bench.

Of course, another rumor that has been around the block is the potential of jumping Maikel Cleto to the major leagues. You might recognize that name from an article I wrote when we traded Brendan Ryan for him (or really any article of the time). Cleto has been fairly dominant this year in both single-A and double-A ball and could take a turn in the bullpen and have St. Louis carry 13 pitchers. Cleto has a blazing quick fastball and an alternate pitch. Is he ready for the jump? I don’t think so. But I’ve been wrong plenty of times before.

It will be interesting to watch who gets the call.