The St. Louis Cardinals will be adding a left-handed reliever to their bullpen this week. Tyler Lyons will be returning to the MLB team after recovering from injury.
The St. Louis Cardinals are in a fortunate but awkward situation this week with Tyler Lyons returning from his rehab assignment after having knee surgery in the off-season. There was a media scrum earlier this week and as As MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch tweeted Monday Lyons is not only expected to return to the team, but will force someone in the current bullpen out.
Lyons has pitched in three games during his rehab stint for the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. Over 14 innings, Lyons posted a 1.29 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP while striking out 14 batters and walking two.
Lyons provides the Cardinals bullpen with some much needed longevity and depth considering the lefty has the ability to be a starter or long reliever. He’s also pretty tough on left handed batters and has limited them to a .186/.255/.300 slash-line over the course of his career.
While the St. Louis Cardinals are glad to welcome him back, they will have the unfortunate responsibility of saying goodbye to someone else either by way of demotion or designation.
There are three relievers on the current MLB roster that have options available: Seung-hwan Oh, Kevin Siegrist, and Matthew Bowman. Oh and Siegrist are staples in the back end of the bullpen while Bowman has continued to prove himself after being selected in the 2016 Rule-5 Draft.
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Many fans would be glad to see Jonathan Broxton go since he has had a 4.69 ERA with the St. Louis Cardinals dating back to 2014. The 32-year old was once a flame throwing shut-down reliever but has quickly become just another arm in the bullpen. He’s a free agent after this season but the Cardinals could decide to designate him for assignment this week.
Another alternative would be to designate Miguel Socolovich for assignment. The 30-year old righty reliever has spent the majority of his professional career in the minor leagues and is likely considered the most expendable pitcher in the bullpen. His most recent outting against the New York Yankees where he allowed five earned runs without recording an out may have been the nail in the coffin for Socolovich.
With his recent performance, age, and overall ability, Socolovich is the most likely candidate to pass through waivers if designated. However, teams may take a chance on him considering he had a 1.89 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP over the 2015 and 2016 seasons where he pitched in 47.2 innings.
The St. Louis Cardinals have a tough decision to make and need to evaluate the pros and cons of optioning a player or designating one for assignment. It is most likely that either Broxton or Socolovich is designated though. So Cardinals fans, who would you like to say goodbye to?