The Cardinals had been waiting to decide — or, at least, to announce — how they’d use rehabbing righty Alex Reyes upon his return. But GM Mike Girsch said today that Reyes will join the team’s rotation when he’s ready, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on Twitter.
That decision, while hardly surprising, does set the stage for some further decisions. “We expect him to be in the rotation,” Girsch said of Reyes (as Mark Saxon of The Athletic tweets), “which leads to a whole bunch of other questions, which we have to answer in the next week to two.”
The current rotation mix features Miles Mikolas, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty, and John Gant. It certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see Gant bumped to the bullpen or back to Triple-A. Beyond that, there are some tough decisions to be made. Weaver carries only a 4.37 ERA, but that’s still a solid output and he has arguably been a bit better than the results. Flaherty is the more recent addition to the MLB rotation, but he has been excellent through four starts (2.31 ERA with 10.4 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9).
Of course, Reyes isn’t the only pitcher making his way back to the majors. Girsch provided some other updates, as MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reports (links to Twitter). Carlos Martinez is only just beginning to throw, meaning he probably won’t be back until June — and likely not at the earlier portion of the month. Veteran Adam Wainwright, meanwhile, is still being looked over closely. Since he has already gone on the 60-day DL, he won’t be back for some time.
Several relievers are also among the moving parts. Lefty Tyler Lyons is expected to be back in short order, though righty Dominic Leone does not appear to be making much progress from the nerve issue that has kept him out. (There’s no update yet on Luke Gregerson, who only recently went on the DL with a shoulder issue.)
At the end of the day, a slight pitching pile-up is a good problem to have for the Cards, who are engaged in what looks likely to be a year-long battle in a tough NL Central. While there are other strong options, particularly once Martinez is back, the hard-throwing Reyes could be an ace in the hole. He certainly seems ready to pick up where he left off when he headed in for Tommy John surgery last spring. The 23-year-old, who posted a 1.57 ERA in his first 46 MLB innings, has allowed just six hits in 16 scoreless rehab outings thus far in 2018, while racking up 31 strikeouts against six walks in 16 innings.