(Baseball StL) - It may not be the most popular argument out there. In fact, I'm sure Lance Lynn has some of the most ardent supporters known to man in this city. The guy did go to the All Star game in 2012 after he constructed a 3.41 ERA prior to the break that year.
There is no doubt that, when rolling, there are few pitchers on the Cardinals more dominant than Lynn. But that's the key words there.
Even during that fantastic season of '12 he still lost his job as a starter briefly during the second half after he could hardly get anyone out during the month of August. Lynn pitched 25.2 innings that month while giving up 19 earned runs (6.66 ERA). His opponents’ batting after the break that year was .279.
2013 was similar for the 26-year old from Marion County, Indiana. He wasn't quite as dominant in the season's first half (4.00 ERA but was still very good holding opponents to a .244 batting average). The problem was his struggles in the second half surfaced again. Lynn labored through the month of August for the second consecutive season (5.84 ERA) and nearly lost his spot in the rotation as well.
What does this all mean? Well, it's simple. After more than 400 innings of watching him pitch in a Cardinals uniform it's quite clear that Lynn is a very nice bottom of the rotation innings eater who can flash dominance at times. But a consistent top of the rotation pitcher? I don't think so.
Now, don't get me wrong, there are a ton of teams in baseball who would be thrilled to put someone like Lance Lynn in their rotation. Maybe most of the other 29 organizations would.
But the Cardinals? The team that possesses the likes of Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez and Jaime Garcia? Sorry. The Cards can do better than a back of the rotation innings eater.
They have the potential to throw five (FIVE!) guys this season who all possess ace stuff. That's absurd.
Plus, don't forget with Jason Motte working his way back from Tommy John surgery, there is a need to help out Trevor Rosenthal in the back of the bullpen. Lynn was at his best in 2011 when firing from there. It took him to move to the rotation to lessen his upside.
This is nothing against Lynn. Not in the least. There are just too many starting candidates this spring to fit them all. Someone, two actually, are going to be very disappointed.
Putting Lynn back in the bullpen where he helped the Cardinals win the World Series in 2011 makes the most sense.