Zach Duke, Tyler Lyons
The Cardinals seem to be extremely optimistic about the progress that both Duke and Lyons have made, but only time will tell whether that optimism is warranted. It seems foolish to think that Duke, who will turn 34 years old in April and had Tommy John surgery in mid-October of last year, is going to pitch at any point in 2017. The Cardinals really want to get any possible value out of the $5.5 million they’re paying him this season, though, so if there’s any chance of him being able to contribute this season, the front office will probably jump at that chance.
Lyons, meanwhile, is just trying to get back as quickly as possible as he recovers from a nagging knee injury that was just supposed to cost him a couple weeks last August, but instead wiped out his entire offseason. The 29-year-old lefty would be an ideal addition to the Cardinals’ bullpen, as he’d fill the long relief role that was initially projected to be filled by Alex Reyes or Michael Wacha. He’d also provide extra lefty arm and would allow Mike Matheny to use Brett Cecil or Kevin Siegrist in more of a legitimate setup role. He’s hoping to be able to pitch during spring training games, but considering the way his injury has lingered, it’s quite likely that he’ll have to begin the season on the disabled list.