Coming into spring training this year there really wasn’t much of a question about the St. Louis Cardinals’ pitching staff. There were five healthy starting pitchers in Adam Wainwright, Mike Leake, Jaime Garcia, Michael Wacha, and Carlos Martinez ready to contribute. There was Tim Cooney and Marco Gonzales likely starting in Memphis waiting for an opportunity. Plus Tyler Lyons in the St. Louis bullpen who could always be stretched out if needed.
John Mozeliak finally got someone to take his money. And while Mike Leake certainly isn’t David Price, he will do the trick. With the deal happening quickly today, the Cardinals introduced their first Major League free agent acquisition in an afternoon press conference at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals and Leake agreed to a 5 year, $80 million deal that has a mutual option for 2021 that would make the contract worth as much as $94 million, according to reports. That deal makes the largest deal that the franchise has given out to a player who had never played for the franchise before.
It was initially billed as just a 15 day disabled list trip to rest his forearm, and so it has been as the Cardinals announced today that they’ve activated Lance Lynn from the DL and optioned Tyler Lyons back to Memphis. Lynn will take the mound tonight against the Miami Marlins.
“I’m just looking forward to competing again. I’ve been out for two weeks and you never want to not be able to complete. So I’m just looking forward to getting back out there,” Lynn told MLB.com about returning to the mound. Lynn missed two starts while on the disabled list with a right forearm strain.
With the Cardinals’ history in the diagnosis of arm issues and the current state of their roster, Lance Lynn being placed on the 15 day DL by the Cardinals is extremely concerning. The official diagnosis was a forearm strain after having experienced some discomfort in his last couple starts. He had left the team and returned to St. Louis to undergo an MRI to help diagnose the issue.
In Lynn’s place, the Cardinals have recalled Tyler Lyons who will likely make both starts that Lynn will miss. Lyons was part of the bridge from Adam Wainwright to Jaime Garcia, making three starts for the Cardinals and somehow escaping any decisions with a 5.54 ERA over 13 innings. Since being demoted back to Memphis though, Lyons has pitched well going 3-1 over 4 starts with a 2.36 ERA in 26.2 innings.
On Sunday afternoon the St. Louis Cardinals put the finishing touches on their 2013 campaign that saw them finish with a 97-65 record, good for best in the National League. For a team that spent most of the first half of the season in that position before floundering mid-summer, it was a happy ending.
The team, however, will enter postseason play for the tenth time in the last fourteen seasons with about as many questions as answers. Here are three important questions that the team will need to find answers to if the franchise’s 12th World Series title is in the cards.