Duke has Tommy John surgery
The Cardinals announced this past week that left handed relief pitcher Zach Duke has undergone Tommy John surgery with forearm flexor repair. The surgery has a recovery time of 12 to 18 months and means Duke will most likely miss the entire 2017 season.
Duke was acquired on July 31 in a trade with the Chicago White Sox for minor league outfielder Charlie Tilson. The left-hander made 28 appearances for 23 1/3 innings for the Cardinals in the second half of 2016, finishing with an ERA of 1.93 with St. Louis.
Duke was unavailable to pitch in the Cardinals’ final series against the Pirates due to arm discomfort. When the Cardinals were eliminated from playoff contention, Duke underwent medical tests and the severity of his arm issues was discovered.
The Cardinals are on the hook for the remaining year on Duke’s contract at a salary of $ 5.5 million dollars. The loss of Duke means the Cardinals will have to look at other left handed options for the bullpen in addition to Kevin Siegrist. Tyler Lyons suffered a knee injury in the second half of the season that required surgery in August and it remains unclear whether he will be available to pitch by Opening Day 2017. Also on the 40-man roster is lefty Dean Kiekhefer. Left handed pitchers Marco Gonzales and Tim Cooney both missed the entire 2016 season with injuries, but could also be options depending on their health.
Cardinals GM John Mozeliak indicated that he will also look at external options in the reliever market this offseason.
Three outrighted from 40-man roster
The Cardinals began the process of freeing up roster spots in anticipation of offseason roster moves. Roster spots need to be made for the reinstatement of 60-day disabled list players as well as making room for any minor league players the Cardinals wish to protect from the Rule 5 draft.
Removed from the roster through outright assignment are right handed pitcher Mitch Harris, and catchers Alberto Rosario and Michael Ohlman. All three players cleared waivers prior to the outright. Both Rosario and Ohlman have enough minor league service time to elect free agency. Harris remains under control by the Cardinals.
Harris missed the 2016 season due to elbow surgery. Rosario was called up by the Cardinals in July to serve as backup catcher behind Yadier Molina as a result of the injury to regular backup catcher Brayan Pena. Ohlman came to the Cardinals in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles in 2015 and has spent his entire time with the Cardinals in the minor leagues and on the 40-man roster.
Additional subtractions from the 40-man roster may need to be made in the coming weeks. The three initial moves cover the three players who had been on the 60-day DL, but additional spots will need to be created for any Rule 5 draft-excluded players the Cardinals may choose, if free agent departures do not open enough spots. The 60-day DL players are Lance Lynn, Seth Maness, and Tyler Lyons.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
The Cardinals sent RHP Mitch Harris, C Alberto Rosario, and C Michael Ohlman outright to the Memphis Redbirds.
LHP Zach Duke (left elbow and forearm) had Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss the entire 2017 season.
There has been no announcement as of yet regarding the status of the Cardinals coaching staff, but it has been suggested that some changes are likely for 2017. The Cardinals have no deadline to make such changes, but some announcement could be coming in the days ahead, along with a rumored extension for manager Mike Matheny, whose contract runs out following next season.
The Cardinals have begun making changes to the 40-man roster. Three players, Mitch Harris, Alberto Rosario, and Michael Ohlman were outrighted from the 40-man roster this past week. Additional moves off the roster are expected to prepare for the Rule 5 draft and for anticipated offseason acquisitions.
Also looming are decisions on options on three players that will need to be made within five days of the end of the World Series. The players with 2017 options are Jaime Garcia, Matt Holliday, and Jordan Walden. The options for Holliday and Walden are not expected to be exercised.
Coming in the next two months will be decisions on arbitration eligible players, and the Winter Meetings, scheduled for December 5-8 in Washington D.C. The Winter Meetings are considered the kick off to the Hot Stove season and include the annual Rule 5 Draft.
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