St. Louis Cardinals: A low cost, low risk trade option for the Cards bullpen

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 31: Hoby Milner #55 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a third inning pitch against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on March 31, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 31: Hoby Milner #55 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a third inning pitch against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on March 31, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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The Philadelphia Phillies have designated left-handed bullpen piece Hoby Milner for assignment.  Milner could be a low-cost, low-risk insurance option for the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen.

In a series of roster moves on Tuesday, the Philadelphia Phillies designated left hander Hoby Milner for assignment after promoting right-handed pitching prospect Enyel De Los Santos.  The moves also included the Phillies picking up the contract of third baseman Trevor Plouffe, and optioning outfielder Dylan Cozens to AAA. The 27-year old lefty could be a nice pickup for the St. Louis Cardinals going into the All Star break.  Let’s take a closer look at this player.

When a player’s contract is designated for assignment(DFA), that player is immediately removed from the teams 40 man roster.  Milner will  now either be traded, placed on outright waivers, or released in the next week.

Who is Hoby Milner?

Hoby Milner was originally drafted out of high school in the 44th round of the 2009 MLB draft by the Washington Nationals.  However, he did not sign and elected to play baseball at the University of Texas.  After his junior year he was drafted by the Phillies in the seventh round of the 2012 draft.

Milner was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 Rule 5 draft, but was later returned to the Phillies in March of 2017.  The Phillies called him up on to the majors for the first time on June 20, 2017.

Milner has solid AAA numbers in the last two years with the Phillies’ AAA affiliate LeHigh Valley Iron Pigs.  In 2017, he had a 2.60 ERA over 27 innings giving only 4 walks and striking out 27.  By 2018, he was even better with a 2.39 ERA over 26 innings with 28 strikeouts and a 46.9 percent ground ball rate.

Milner as a Major Leaguer

Hoby Milner’s first call up in 2017 was impressive where in pitched 31 innings over 37 games.  He had a 2.01 ERA with 22 strikeouts and giving up 16 walks and only 2 home runs.

However, in 2018, Milner struggled after making the opening day roster.  In 10 games and only 4.2 innings pitched, he posted a 7.71 ERA before being optioned to AAA in April.  He was recalled for a doubleheader on Monday before being designated for assignment.

Milner now has two-year major league ERA of 2.75 with 26 strikeouts, 19 walks, and a 1.52 WHIP in 36 innings over 47 appearances.

The Cardinals current left-handed side of the Bullpen

The St. Louis Cardinals currently only have Brett Cecil as a left-handed option on the active roster. On the 40 man roster, Tyler Lyons is currently on a rehab assignment in Memphis, but when he returns to the Cardinals is still uncertain.  Ryan Sherriff underwent Tommy John surgery in June and will not be back in 2018.  Austin Gomber is at AAA Memphis being groomed to be a starter, but could be recalled to St. Louis to be used in the bullpen.

In late June, the Cardinals grabbed Tyler Webb of waivers from San Diego, put him on their 40 man roster and assigned him to AAA Memphis.  Thus far, the 27-year-old Webb has been effective, posting a 1.88 ERA and could figure into upcoming plans in the Cardinal bullpen.

Should the Cards pick up Milner?

In my opinion, they should.

The St. Louis Cardinals 2018 bullpen has been a ‘revolving door’ of players coming on and off the DL.  This is also true of the left-handed side, with Lyons and Cecil both spending time on the DL.  Additionally, the middle part of the bullpen has been an up and down affair this season.  Just take a look at the performance on Sunday vs the Giants.

Picking up Hoby Milner would be a low-cost low risk option for the Cards and would give the team some additional insurance for the left side of the bullpen. Milner would not be arbitration eligible unit 2021 and controllable until 2024.

In 2017, Milner was a very effective piece for the Phillies and he could be again.  The Cardinals could assign him to AAA Memphis and let their pitching gurus have a chance to work with him.

Next: A three team trade in the works

That’s my opinion.  Let us know yours. Should the Cardinals pick up Hoby Milner? Thanks for reading and Go Cards.

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