The 27-year-old Lyles, a first-round pick of the Astros in 2008, has generally struggled since debuting in the majors in 2011. However, Lyles was decent this year as a member of the Padres, with whom he logged a 4.29 ERA/4.45 FIP with 7.82 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 46.7 percent groundball rate in 71 1/3 innings. He worked primarily out of San Diego’s bullpen before it said goodbye to him, totaling eight starts in 24 appearances.
Lyles will presumably begin his Brewers tenure in relief, and his presence could help a Milwaukee club whose pitching depth has recently taken multiple hits in the form of serious injuries to Brent Suter and Zach Davies. Judging by the work he has done as a reliever this year, Lyles looks capable of serving as an asset for the Brewers, who own a 65-49 record and are 2 1/2 games up on a wild-card spot. In 24 1/3 frames out of the bullpen this season, Lyles has pitched to a 3.33 ERA/3.53 FIP with 8.14 K/9 and 2.96 BB/9, and limited opposing hitters to a .200/.276/.330 line.
Should the Lyles experiment go well for the Brewers this year, they’ll have a chance to keep him in 2019 on a $3.5MM club option (or they could buy him out for $250K). In the meantime, he’s on an ultra-affordable $750K salary this season.