The Padres have agreed to a minor league pact with right-hander Jordan Lyles, per Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The 26-year-old righty was designated for assignment by the division-rival Rockies prior to the non-waiver deadline and was released last week. Lyles has been assigned to Triple-A El Paso, according to Sanders.
Lyles was the No. 38 overall pick in the 2008 draft by the Astros but found himself traded to the Rockies prior to the 2014 season as part of a package that netted the Astros outfielder Dexter Fowler. The Rox had hoped that Lyles, then one of the game’s top-regarded pitching prospects, could help to solidify the rotation for years to come.
He made good on that promise in 2014, tossing 126 2/3 innings with a 4.33 ERA, but Lyles was unable to replicate those results over the next three seasons in Colorado, struggling with injuries along the way. A broken left hand significantly shortened that 2014 campaign for Lyles, and a ligament injury in his left foot would cap his 2015 season at just 49 innings.
Lyles was healthy in both 2016 and 2017, but his results didn’t improve following a shift from the rotation to the ’pen. All told, the final three seasons of his Rockies tenure resulted in a 5.95 ERA with 5.5 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a 51 percent ground-ball rate in 154 1/3 innings. Metrics like SIERA, FIP and xFIP were a bit more optimistic, pegging him at remarkably similar (and sequential) marks of 4.69, 4.70 and 4.71, respectively.
The Padres will take a look at Lyles for the remainder of the season, and he could conceivably help the big league club as a long man or in the rotation eventually, depending on whether the Friars ultimately trade starters Clayton Richard and/or Jhoulys Chacin. At present, both of those veterans are in the rotation alongside Travis Wood, Luis Perdomo and rookie Dinelson Lamet, but both Richard and Chacin are plausible August trade candidates. Lyles could technically be controlled for another season via arbitration, depending on when he is added to the team’s roster, as he currently sits 30 days of MLB service shy of reaching six years of service time.
For now, Lyles will join the rotation for San Diego’s Triple-A affiliate: the El Paso Chihuahuas. He will, in fact, start tonight’s game for El Paso, as noted by Chihuahuas broadcaster Tim Hagerty (on Twitter).