With the news of Michael Pineda needing Tommy John surgery, it’s hard not to envision a match between the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting pitcher, Lance Lynn.
A couple of days ago, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported New York Yankees’ pitcher, Michael Pineda has a torn UCL. As soon as you hear the words “UCL tear,” you immediately think Tommy John surgery, as that is likely what will happen to Pineda. The Yankees’ starting pitcher was not having a career year by any means, but it is a huge blow to the Yankees starting rotation.
Unfortunately, the St. Louis Cardinals know the words “UCL tear” all too well.
Over the last two seasons, four St. Louis Cardinals’ pitchers have undergone Tommy John surgery. Last season, Marco Gonzales, Lance Lynn, and Zach Duke went down. This season, most notably, pitching prospect, Alex Reyes, required surgery to repair the tear as well. The feeling is all too familiar between the two teams. However, there may be some mutual interest between the two teams at the trade deadline.
"Tough news for #Yankees postseason hopes:pitcher Michael Pineda has torn UCL, Tommy John elbow surgery likely https://t.co/QwWcBjmN9T— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 14, 2017Tough news for #Yankees postseason hopes:pitcher Michael Pineda has torn UCL, Tommy John elbow surgery likely https://t.co/QwWcBjmN9T— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 14, 2017"
Both the Cardinals and Yankees find themselves fighting for the playoffs. The Yankees at one point played extremely well in the first half of the season. They actually found themselves at the top of the AL-East division. However, a string of bad pitching performances has seen them drop to third place in the standings with a record of 46-42.
The St. Louis Cardinals, however, also sit in third place, but with a record of 44-46. After last night’s win, the Cardinals still sit 6.5 games back of Milwaukee. While most of us are expecting the Cardinals to buy at the trade deadline, there really hasn’t been any indication on what that move might be. If anything, the Yankees are in a better position to buy than the Cardinals.
If it isn’t obvious at this point, the Yankees will need starting pitching to make the playoffs. They also have other needs at third and first base as well. Should the St. Louis Cardinals falter in the standings, the window to buy will slam shut. At that point, Cardinal Nation should embrace the fact the team will sell pieces for the long-term future.
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The obvious candidate for a trade to the Yankees is Lance Lynn. As a St. Louis Cardinal, Lynn is known as a guy who eats innings and keeps you in games. He is a winner.
Unfortunately, his contract situation is obstacle too large to ignore. Because of said contract, Lynn could find himself on another team by July 31st.
Lynn has pitched very well for the Cardinals since coming off Tommy John surgery. He enters today with a 8-6 record and a 3.03 ERA.
In last night’s game, Lynn went 6.1 inning without giving up a run. He also had three strikeouts and no walks along the way. If the Yankees are looking for someone to bring in, Lynn would be a perfect candidate.
Even in last night’s broadcast, the Cardinals’ announcers teased the idea of last night being his last start in a St. Louis Cardinals’ uniform. A trade makes sense, but I’m sure many teams still have questions on him.
The biggest question facing Lynn coming into the season was how would his body respond to the injury. Luckily, Lynn had a more extensive rehab process, but I think many of us wondered whether he would be the same pitcher. I think it’s fair to say Lynn is still the same pitcher, and might be getting better.
If the Cardinals and Yankees do come to an agreement, what could the Cardinals potentially receive in return? If you look at the farm system and the current team needs, a shortstop probably tops the chart. You could also argue a first baseman is needed as well, but Luke Voit is starting to prove some doubters wrong.
The obvious ask would be for Gleyber Torres, the Yankees’ number one prospect (SS). Oddly enough, he went down with Tommy John surgery this season as well. Now, I know a bunch of Yankee’s fans will scoff at the possibility of trading Torres, but I’m just being realistic.
It’s not like Didi Gregorius is having a terrible year, so why the hesitancy? Perhaps it’s because Gregorius is only signed through this season. However, Torres’ injury will keep him out of the major leagues until midway next season at best. The Yankees will more than likely look to keep Gregorius for a smaller deal until Torres is ready.
If the Yankees do come calling for Lance Lynn, the Cardinals should ask for Torres in return. Look at what the Chicago Cubs did to go get Jose Quintana. I understand Quintana is under more control than Lance Lynn, but the Cardinals are the ones with the piece, not the Yankees.
The best case scenario, for the Cardinals, is other teams getting in the miss for Lynn. Teams such as the Rockies, Astros, and Diamondbacks all need rotation help. Added pressure could sweeten the deal for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Also, remember earlier when I said the Yankees needed help at first and third base? I’ll still go on a limb and say Matt Carpenter is a good fit for the Yankees as well. If Matt Carpenter and Lynn are in a deal together with the Yankees, there’s no telling what would come back to the Cardinals, as long as it starts with Torres.
I know trading Lynn is a stretch, but not too big of one. Both teams are still needing to prove they are contenders in their respective leagues. As I said earlier, the Yankees are in the better position to buy, but that doesn’t mean they won’t continue to falter themselves. If their starting pitching can’t take them past these days in mid-July, then there is no point of them buying.
Should the St. Louis Cardinals reel off wins and over take the Central division, then the odds of dealing Lynn are pretty much zero. I know the waiting game isn’t any fun, especially when you are trying to make the playoffs, but there is no other choice. Come July 31st, though, we will know what choice both the Cardinals and Yankees will make.
I know Lynn said he wants to come back to St. Louis, but this is a business as well. Who knows, maybe if he is traded, he will still return on a deal. Is it likely at that point, no. However, if there is still mutual interest between the St. Louis Cardinals and Lynn this off-season there is no reason he couldn’t return.