Cardinals starting pitcher Lance Lynn had Tommy John surgery on Tuesday and will miss the entire 2016 season. The surgery came one day after the club learned their top pitching prospect Alex Reyes would miss 50 games for failing a drug test for marijuana.
The club was counting on Reyes joining the big league club and helping in 2016. With John Lackey’s future uncertain with the club, it for sure means the Cardinals will have to jump into the free agency fire to go after a big arm.
Lynn told the club of his elbow discomfort just recently, saying he had pitched with issues much of the season. He was checked out by Dr. David Altcheck, who confirmed the ligament tear. George Paletta, the Cardinals’ former medical director, then performed the surgery.
“It’s unfortunate because he’s been a key member of our rotation,” Mozeliak told MLB Network’s Sam Ryan from the General Managers Meetings. “I guess it’s in a way good timing, so we have time to address it. This [GM meetings] is usually the kickoff to the offseason, so now it allows us to do our due diligence. Obviously, the next few days I’m going to spend as much time as I can meeting with agents, understanding what the market looks like.”
The Cardinals should have a healthy Adam Wainwright and Carlos Martinez along with Michael Wacha, but Lynn at times in his career has seen his second half number dip. We’ve yet to see Martinez make it into the postseason as a starter, either due to injury or demotion and each of the last two seasons have had either Wainwright or Wacha pitching out of the ‘pen.
The silver lining for this injury to Lynn is that it may wake up Mozeliak to the fact that his starting pitching is not as strong as he may believe it is. Now, he may need to look at free agency.
Does an arm like Zach Greinke or David Price look attractive? Absolutely, but it may involve the Cardinals spending an outrageous amount of money to dip into the free agency pool to get a starting pitcher and try to keep Jason Heyward. How far will the Cardinals be willing to go?