Despite boasting a pitching staff that has the best earned run average in all of Major League Baseball, there’s still a chance the St. Louis Cardinals add starting pitching this summer ahead of the trade deadline.
Most of you will probably consider me crazy for saying this is a feasible outcome with six or so weeks until the July 31 mark, and I’ll admit this: it’s largely dependent on how Lance Lynn recovers from his forearm strain.
Right now, the right-hander is set to return once his stint on the 15-day DL ends in late June. In an ideal world, he’ll return and pick up right where he left off.
Aiming for his third-straight 15-win season, Lynn is currently 4-4 in 12 starts. The 28-year-old starter boasts a 3.07 earned run average – a tick up from his 2.74 mark from a year ago.
Lynn is 4-4 with a 3.07 ERA in 12 starts. He has won 15 or more games in all three seasons he has been in the rotation, going 15-10 with a 2.74 ERA last year.
Right now, St. Louis has inserted Tyler Lyons into Lynn’s spot in the rotation. The left-hander has failed to pitch past the fifth inning in any of his four starts this season, leading to an increased work load for a bullpen that deserves as much praise as the rotation.
Should Lynn not come back 100 percent, which is feasible given the fact his forearm has bothered him since his second start of the season, the Cardinals could make a move for a starting pitcher.
One name that comes to mind is New York Mets right-hander Dillon Gee, who more often than not is viewed as the odd-man-out in a young staff loaded with talent.
Gee has taken a bit of a step backward this year, seeing his workload lighten from years’ past. He has just seven starts under his belt in 2015, and has allowed 18 runs in 36 innings of work – good for a 4.50 ERA.
A career 40-37 pitcher, Gee has managed to keep his earned run average just under the 4.00 mark across 113 games – all but four of which were starts.
His sheer expendability makes him a likely trade candidate, and given he makes just $5.3 million this season – his cost isn’t likely to scare away teams looking to shore up their staff.
Kennedy would likely be the cheaper of the two, given he’s pitched to a 5.84 ERA and 1.500 WHIP in 36 innings of work for the Friars this year, but the Cardinals’ interest would be questionable.
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He does possess a solid upside, though. He won 13 games last season with the Padres, and while his best years are likely behind him, at just 30 years old, he should have plenty left in the tank.
Back in ’06, the right-hander and former first-round pick went 21-4 with the Diamondbacks, finishing fourth in Cy Young voting. He’s definitely not that kind of arm anymore, but for a team like St. Louis, there’s still value.
Both Gee and Kennedy are affordable stop-gap measures that could help a first-place Cardinals team shore up a rotation that has been bitten by the injury bug early on.
Only time will tell whether such a move is necessary, but with Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn both sidelined to varying extents, a mid-season trade cannot be ruled out.