Before he got hurt in 2015, Lance Lynn was a contributor to the Cardinal’s 100 win season, where he posted a 3.03 ERA before being sidelined with Tommy John. Recovering from the surgery and making a rehab start two days ago, should Lynn be called up before the end of the season?
I find myself acting like a broken record player whenever I write about this team, constantly repeating the fact that the Cardinal’s rotation has been no where near as good as last year’s. Looking for reasons, many fans looked at differences between this year and last year. Although many people wouldn’t consider Lynn an integral part in last season’s success, he was nevertheless a part of it. It’s easy to overlook the fourth or fifth man in a rotation as dominant as the 2015 Cardinals, but Lynn’s 3.03 ERA shouldn’t be ignored. Heck, that’s lower than the ERA of any of the Cardinal’s starters this season.
Lynn’s recovery was nothing but normal. Most people coming off Tommy John take 11-12 months to start a recovery program. Lynn only took 10, which is either a really good sign or a really bad sign. The good news is that after his first recovery start on Monday, Lynn stated he felt “delightful as ever”. Take that as you may, many people say that if Lynn continues to feel good he could possibly return before the end of the season.
The question becomes should he?
The Cardinal’s have been many things this season. Healthy is not one of them. Just look through the team’s 2016 injury report—it’s plagued by injuries, especially with pitchers. There have been many arm complications with Cardinal pitchers this year. Most recently, Seth Maness was put on the DL requiring Tommy John surgery, and Kevin Siegrest is now complaining of arm soreness/fatigue. Before that there have been injuries to Trevor Rosenthal, Jordan Walden, Michael Wacha, Mitch Harris, and Tyler Lyons. Whether it be the workload in games, the length of bullpen sessions, or just pure luck, the Cardinals have a problem with the health of their pitchers.
Lance Lynn (rehab start at Palm Beach-A): 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 K (27 pitches/19 strikes).
Junior Fernandez fired 7.0 IP in relief for win.
— Chris Tunno (@TunesSTL) August 16, 2016
A fellow writer for the site, Sam Pointer, wrote about how the future of the team is bright, even if the present seems bleak. That is why a call-up of Lance Lynn this season would be ridiculous. Even if Cardinal’s pitching continues to be plagued by injury this year, is it worth it to put next season in jeopardy? Would it be worth it to keep a struggling season alive by putting the possibilities of next season in question? The answer to that should be an emphatic NO.
Right now the Cardinals have somewhat limited options when it comes to starting pitching. Recent call-ups, Luke Weaver and Alex Reyes, have both shown potential to pitch, and both have experience starting. The Cardinals have chosen Weaver as their starter for now, but one would have to think that if another injury occurred, Reyes would get the call from the bullpen. Additionally, in a few weeks Michael Wacha will return. Granted he hasn’t been great this season, he is a starting pitcher the team can utilize.
Lynn’s return to pitching has already been quick. That doesn’t mean that the biological recovery of his arm as been just as quick. Rushing a pitcher that has already possibly been rushed is silly, and shouldn’t be something the team even entertains. Putting Lynn on the postseason roster, if they make it that far, as a just in case, could be justified. But to tell him he has a legitimate chance of making it back before the end of season is not only dumb, but irresponsible.
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