Lance Lynn has been one of most consistent pitchers for the St. Louis Cardinals, but if the team decides to let him walk, they should look outside the organization for a replacement.
Over his past three seasons Lance Lynn has been a dependable starting pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. Even after getting Tommy John surgery in 2016, Lynn has not missed a beat whatsoever. In his past three seasons, including 2017, Lynn has an ERA of 2.94 (FIP of 3.83) and has allowed an even eight hits per nine innings with a WHIP of 1.270.
With his contract up at the end of the season, Lynn might opt to cash out while he can. If he does, the St. Louis Cardinals will need to find a replacement. Alex Reyes is set to return, but with 2018 being his first season back from Tommy John and being a young pitcher, the Cardinals will probably opt to put him on an innings limit.
Veteran right-hander, and avid Dr. Miles hater, Adam Wainwright, has not looked like his younger self over the past two seasons and a move to the bullpen could be a full-time gig. This would leave a big hole in the rotation and why not look towards the free agent market for a replacement.
1) Yu Darvish – Rangers/Dodgers
Yu Darvish has been a bit injury prone throughout his five big league seasons. Out of his five seasons, he has made less than twenty-nine starts in two of them (2014 and 2016) and completely missed 2015 due to Tommy John surgery.
Before his three-year streak of injuries, Darvish was one of the top pitchers in the game. From 2012-2014, Darvish sported an ERA of 3.27 (3.17 FIP) in eighty-three starts and allowed 7.2 hits per nine and struck out 11.2 per nine.
Since Tommy John surgery, Darvish has not looked great, but he has not looked terrible either. In his forty-seven post Tommy John starts Darvish’s ERA is 3.76, and while the strikeouts are slightly down (11.2 to 10.7), the walks have been decreased (3.6 to 2.9).
Darvish may not be the imposing figure he was when he first arrived, but he still dependable as long as he remains healthy. And having Yadier Molina behind the plate will help out Darvish as well, and could possibly help him get back his magic.
#2 – Jake Arrieta, Cubs
The potential to have back-to-back offseasons taking your rival team’s top free agent is always fun to think about. When that player has seemed to regain his Cy Young form, it makes the thought even better.
After the Baltimore Orioles traded him for basically a bag of chips (not even a name brand), Jake Arrieta has been a top pitcher in the game. During his four full seasons as a Cub, Arrieta has a 2.65 ERA and has allowed 6.6 hit per nine and a minuscule WHIP (for a starting pitcher) of 1.021.
In fact, Arrieta’s ERA ranks third behind Clayton Kershaw and Dellin Betances and his WHIP is ranked sixth. Now, the St. Louis Cardinals would have to pony up a good amount of money even though Arrieta’s entire 2017 has not been like his previous three seasons. But imagine having him, Carlos Martinez, and a healthy Alex Reyes leading the charge.
#3 – Jaime Garcia, Braves/Twins/Yankees
Because why not bring in a guy you already know so much about. Jaime Garcia has been one three different teams and has found his best success with his newest team, the New York Yankees.
In seven starts Garcia has an ERA of 3.86 but a FIP of 4.59 and a WHIP of 1.543. While Garcia’s numbers are sub-par, once again this a guy the Cardinals know can be a top starter. Just two seasons ago Garcia had a career year (2.43 ERA/1.049 WHIP in 20 starts) but since then has fallen off.
Having a lefty in the rotation is another reason adding Garcia could be beneficial. A guy that teams will have to adjust their lineups for, and just like with Darvish, the great Yadi can help him out.
Seeing Lance Lynn leave is not ideal, but if he does an acquisition should be made from the free agent market. Especially with a deteriorating Wainwright and a fresh off of surgery Reyes.