Cardinals setup man Jordan Walden won’t return to the team this season or in the playoffs, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The 27-year-old Walden, acquired alongside Jason Heyward this offseason, landed on the DL on April 30 due to a biceps injury that initially came with a six- to 10-week recovery timetable. However, as Goold writes, damage to the rotator cuff in Walden’s right shoulder has kept him on the disabled list and will end his season. He’s hopeful to avoid surgery, but the ultimate outcome of the injury isn’t known.
“There’s not an easy answer,” GM John Mozeliak told Goold. “If his decision is to not have surgery then he’s going to have to have a very rigorous offseason with therapy and it’s going to be a tough go. And if he’s successful with that then I think next year has a possibility. Right now, it’s not looking great.” Mozeliak made a troubling comparison to Mark Mulder, noting that surgery offers no guarantee of fixing the issue and adding that some players have had the surgery Walden is facing and simply never come back.
Walden inked a two-year, $6.6MM contract with the Cardinals after coming over in the trade from the Braves this winter. Mozeliak said that a physical conducted at the time of the deal made the Cardinals aware of some potential risks pertaining to Walden’s shoulder, though clearly the team was comfortable enough to make a commitment of multiple seasons.
Walden pitched in 10 1/3 innings for the Cardinals this year, yielding just one run on seven hits and four walks with a dozen strikeouts. In 222 innings at the big league level, Walden has totaled an even 3.00 ERA with 266 strikeouts against 96 walks (86 unintentional) in 222 innings.