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Cardinals won’t stretch out Lance Lynn, Kyle McClellan

Feb 20, 2012, 11:00 PM EDT

Lance Lynn Reuters

OK, yeah, boring headline; this one probably won’t get a lot of clicks. But it rates as a pretty curious decision to me.

New Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Monday that he doesn’t plan to stretch out any of his relievers, a group that includes former starters Lance Lynn, Kyle McClellan and Mitchell Boggs. In means that in the event of a late injury to one of his five starters, he’ll probably be forced to turn to Brandon Dickson at the back of the rotation.

“When you have a younger ‘pen, you don’t want to confuse the issue,” Matheny said. “When you have guys who are still trying to find their role … right now we have everybody exactly where we want to be.”

Right now, yes. And I strongly believe that major league teams typically go overboard in worrying about the worst-case scenario. But the Cardinals’ sixth, seventh and eighth best starters are all in their bullpen. That could come back to bite them later on.

Of course, if Chris Carpenter or someone else were to suffer an oblique strain tomorrow, there would be plenty of time for the Cardinals to adjust. Lynn would be the obvious choice to move back to the rotation in that case. But if Lynn finishes the spring never having thrown more than two innings in an outing and a starter goes down at the beginning of April, it’s going to take a few outings in stretch him out.

As for Matheny’s reasoning, I think he’s worrying about it a bit too much. Lynn didn’t work as a reliever in the minors before the Cards shifted him to the pen last year, and all he did was post a 2.22 ERA and fan 32 in 24 1/3 innings out of the pen. I think the smart play would be to have him start games this spring, just in case.

  1. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 20, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Perhaps I should change my handle to Wainwrightwouldbegoodattheeighthtoo. It makes just as much sense.

  2. okwhitefalcon - Feb 20, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    I think everything Matheny’s doing as of this moment is “subject to change” for the most part.

    He’s a sharp cat, I doubt adaptability on the fly as situations occur phase him one bit.

  3. stex52 - Feb 20, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    Agreed. He is smart, but is learning his job. I predict he gets it pretty quickly.

  4. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 21, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    That first line is a bit of reverse psychology, isn’t it?

    “You say this post won’t get a lot of clicks? I’ll show you!”

  5. brockohol - Feb 21, 2012 at 7:22 AM

    would say I agree but there are like 6 good right arms in that bullpen. between salas, Lynn, sanchez, mcclellan, motte, (some good ones coming up as well) not all of them can pitch the eighth inning every night.

    I do however think wrstbrook will ne better this year.

    I keep hearing shelby miller could be so good that they have no choice not to bring him up

    • paperlions - Feb 21, 2012 at 7:33 AM

      Miller has been good….but he hasn’t been THAT good. He just turned 21. A september call up and breaking camp in the rotation next year is much more likely.

  6. paperlions - Feb 21, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    Honestly, I would much rather see Lynn compete for a starting job than just handing it over to Westbrook. I don’t care who makes the most money, I want guys that will help the team win, which is exactly the approach the Cardinals should take. If Lynn is moved to the rotation, the Cardinals have the bullpen depth to replace him. If Westbrook sucks again, there is no one waiting….UNLESS this means that the Cardinals plan on signing Oswalt. Really, that is the only defense for not having Lynn compete for a spot in the rotation (we pretty much already know Boggs and McClellan can’t handle that job).

    • okwhitefalcon - Feb 21, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      I’m all for getting Lynn’s arm built up as well, he had no problem coming back in a shorter role late season after getting starters work last year in AAA.

      I think the organization would absolutely love to get at least another full season for Miller in the minors, definitely best case scenario.

      He’s got good stuff – not Matt Moore stuff but a high ceiling guy for sure.

  7. okwhitefalcon - Feb 21, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Looks like the only thing Lynn will stretching out for a few days is his hamstring damnit.

  8. dgs2012 - Feb 21, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    It is interesting … but Lynn and McCllelan project as dominant right handed relievers. Especially Lynn…In fact, when Jason Motte struggles, I think Lance Lynn has the potential to be a shutdown closer. His off speed stuff blows Motte’s out of the water … and Motte’s fastball will inevitably get hit.

    I also think showcasing the talents plays a role here. Aside from these 4 guys, they also have Fernando Salas, Eduardo Sanchez. There is a surplus of shut down righty’s in the pen.

    I’d be shocked if a deal did not go down, barring a injury.

    For Cardinals news and notes, make sure to google Daily Grind Sports

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