What might have once appeared as a regular off-season for the St. Louis Cardinals- one of aiming for a few targets and going after them- has changed dramatically with the news of surgery.
The St. Louis Cardinals announced this past week that reliever Zach Duke will undergo Tommy John surgery and will be out for the 2017 season. This Mozeliak trade made during the 2016 season at the trade deadline shored-up the back end of the pen in a strong way. Duke was expected to be a reliable arm in the pen in 2017 but that is out now.
One of the downsides of this loss is the loss of finances as well. Duke is owed $5.5M in 2017, the final year of his team-control contract. 2016 was a strong year for Duke and the St. Louis Cardinals had hoped he would continue this in 2017. Again, this performance and this money are out now.
Before moving on, let’s look at the pain to be experienced in the loss. In 2016, Duke appeared in twenty-eight games for the Cardinals covering 23.1 innings. In these innings, he allowed only seventeen hits and five earned runs for an impressive 1.93 ERA. In 23.1 innings, Duke struck out twenty-six batters and recorded a 1.29 WHIP. Ouch to the loss, right?
What to do now? Will the Cardinals panic? Should the Cardinals shop the reliever market? Can they simply solve from within? With so many things on the line, look for Mozliak to make a smart decision but don’t expect him to show his hand any time soon.
Let’s take a look at the options before the team and see if we can glean the best solution at this time.