The trade deadline has come and gone, but two teams still looking to make a splash in the second half of the season found some help on Sunday from the San Diego Padres.
Pitchers Tyson Ross and Jordan Lyles will go from teammates to rivals as both were claimed off waivers by National League contenders. Ross will join the St. Louis Cardinals while Lyles heads to Milwaukee.
Neither players are bound to make or break their new club’s postseason hopes, yet they can provide immediate help in a loaded NL Central.
Brewers finally address pitching needs
One of the most surprising aspects of this year’s trade deadline was the Brewers inability to add to their starting rotation while being one of the most aggressive buyers on the market.
The acquisition of Lyles likely won’t calm the nerves of many Milwaukee fans, but it gives the Brewers a versatile righty to ease the burden on their arms.
Lyles appeared in 24 games with the Padres this season — including eight starts. His 4.29 ERA in 71.1 innings pitched is comparable to the work of recently-injured starter Brent Suter (4.44 ERA, 101.1 IP), who is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Lyles’ command has also been notable this year as he’s walked just 19 batters on 62 strikeouts.
The former first round draft pick in 2008 may be on his fourth team in his MLB career, but at only 27 years old, he’s a low-risk, high-reward option for a team hoping to make the postseason for the first time since 2011.
With a 2.5 game lead on the NL Wild Card, it’s a move the Brewers didn’t have to make but can easily feel good about.
Cardinals retooling on the fly
It’s a much different situation for Tyson Ross as he heads to his new team. The Cardinals are four games back of the second NL Wild Card, but with a much tougher road and less stable clubhouse.
Sam Tuivailala, Tommy Pham and Greg Holland are out. Luke Gregerson and Carlos Martínez are on the disabled list and now a former All-Star pitcher is coming in to help guide the ship to the finish line and possibly beyond.
Ross hasn’t matched the potential he showed in 2013 and 2014, but he’s been reliable since rejoining the Padres this season after a disastrous stint with the Rangers in 2017 while working back from a shoulder injury.
He’s got a 4.45 ERA in over 22 starts this year with a 1.330 WHIP that’s just slightly above the league average at 1.307. It’s another low-risk move for the Cardinals. If they are able to sneak into the postseason it likely won’t be because of Ross, but a veteran presence certainly won’t hurt a clubhouse that’s been strained at times this season.
The #STLCards announced today that they have claimed RHP Tyson Ross off waivers from San Diego. He will join the team in Miami.
The former National League All-Star was 6-9 with a 4.45 ERA (123.1 IP) and 107 strikeouts in 22 starts for San Diego this season. pic.twitter.com/nGo3LGKzmz
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 5, 2018
San Diego continues rebuilding
As for the Padres, this seems to all be part of the plan of returning to sustained relevance.
Speaking to the media before Sunday’s game against the Cubs, manager Andy Green seemed to shrug off the move.
“It’s one big step closer to the future for us,” Green said. “We need to get there. I’ve been wanting to get there in some ways for a while. I understand the timing of this. This is perfect for us in many ways.”
Lyles and Ross clearly weren’t in future plans for the Padres and the roster spots opened up by their loss will allow San Diego to try out some prospects in a low-stakes second half of the season.
Brett Kennedy and Jacob Nix are two names being floated to get first crack joining the club.
In either case, the Padres won’t be feeling the stung by the departure of Ross and Lyles. At 43-70, and with the worst record in the majors, the time to experiment with new players is now.
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