ST. LOUIS (BaseballStL) -- With Cards' reliever Kyle McClellan officially out for the rest of the season the club gains some clarity moving towards the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. Probably the worst thing that could have happened for them would be to continue getting strung along thinking and hoping he would be able to return to the mound only to find out later this month that wouldn't be the case.
By then the market for pitching would have settled and the Cards could have been left in an uncomfortable position thinking an arm was returning that, in fact, would not.
Finding this information out now accomplishes multiple things. First and foremost, we're still 19 days away from the deadline. Talks are certainly heating up among teams...but it's largely posturing before official trades begin to go through (most likely a week or so from now). The Cardinals now know not to expect the return of Kyle McClellan and can adjust their deadline plans accordingly.
If this would have happened later, again, it could've been a problem. But now it's not. They know soon enough he won't be back. This isn't all that dissimilar from Chris Carpenter and learning he wouldn't return in 2012 early enough to adjust their thought process.
The second thing this does is give clarity for McClellan moving forward in his career. There's nothing more frustrating for a pitcher when he's in pain and he doesn't really know why. Doctors think it's something but they can't be 100% positive. You try and battle through it but deep down you know something else is wrong.
Well, the second you find out once and for all what you're facing it makes life that much easier. Kind of hard to beat an opponent when you don't even know what it is, right? Kyle McClellan knows his opponent. He knows exactly what he needs to do to get his career back on track.
In 2010, the Florissant native was as good of a reliever as there was in the big leagues. In 75.1 innings, he had a 2.27 ERA with an astounding 1.08 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched). Opponents hit only .210 off of him that season. He was incredible.
I'll never forget in spring training 2011 when the Cards needed a starter to replace Adam Wainwright and former manager Tony La Russa told us he wished they could find someone else to do that other than McClellan. He valued McClellan's work so much in the bullpen that, in a perfect world, they wouldn't mess with him. In the end, TLR was overruled and he was put in the rotation.
We all know what happened from there. The innings piled up. McClellan fatigued. Now he's hurt. How all of those things relate to one another is undetermined...but it wouldn't shock me if they were either. With a newly repaired shoulder in 2013 the Cardinals will gain a major weapon back in their bullpen.
And, now, the Redbirds and GM John Mozeliak can shop for pitching knowing exactly what to expect (or not expect) from Kyle McClellan this season. It only makes things easier.