May 17, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia (54) walks off the field after being taken out of the game during the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Jaime Garcia’s Injury Essentially Sets Rotation

With news coming out this past weekend that Jaime Garcia had to return to St. Louis to have his shoulder examined due to familiar discomfort, it feels like the rotation is all but set even though St. Louis Cardinals management has not yet made any type of formal announcement.

Heading in to the spring, I think most would agree that Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller, and Michael Wacha were locked in to three of the five available spots. Further, most would have been bullish that Jaime Garcia would take the 4th spot because of two reasons: salary and his ability to provide LH balance.

That would have left Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, and Carlos Martinez to battle over the final spot.

While it’s been announced that Martinez will start the first official game of spring, and the Cardinals want to give him a long look in the starter’s role, I think it’s highly unlikely that he steals the final spot away from either of the seasoned pitchers he is up against because of one simple reason. He’s needed elsewhere.

Reading the tea leaves of the Jason Motte situation tells me this: Motte’s not ready, and his attitude displayed through various radio interviews doesn’t make it seem like he is going to be pushing aggressively to make an early return to the back end of the bullpen. Honestly, I’m ok with this stance. It seems when players try to exceed expectations for a return from injury they oftentimes end up right back on the injury list.

So, there you have it. Martinez can’t steal the 5th starter role yet because he is needed in the 8th inning set-up role to bridge the gap to closer Trevor Rosenthal. Once Jason Motte is fully ready to assume that duty perhaps the entire dynamic changes, but until then it just seems like the best thing for the team at this time is keeping Martinez ready to lock down the 8th inning.

Unless something drastically changes throughout spring training, it appears to me as though Lynn and Kelly will take the final two rotation spots.

Tags: Carlos Martinez Jaime Garcia Jason Motte Joe Kelly Lance Lynn St Louis Cardinals

  • Lee

    I’m still not sure as to why Siegrist isn’t getting a shot at the starter role. Wasn’t he a starter at the minor league level?? If left- handed balance is what the rotation needs get another righty?

    • @RPKraemer

      Siegrist was a starter in the minors right up until 2013 when the club transitioned him to LH relief. He excelled in that role in AA-AAA before finally arriving in St. Louis. Odds are good that Siegrist is staying put right where he is because there are other LH options already in that role. With Freeman in the wings there is an avenue to give Siegrist a look as a starter if they truly want to go that route, but then again Lyons is available too without having to shuffle anyone in their current pen.

      Thanks for reading, and thanks for pointing out a potential LH candidate for the future should the Cards need to think outside the box for a Garcia solution.