It’s a reality that cannot be escaped—there are only 25 spots on a big league roster. And as Spring Training begins to wind down for the St. Louis Cardinals, players that might be staying up with another team are being optioned or re-assigned back to Minor League Camp.
“This is probably as competitive as it is anywhere in the league right now,” said Lyons recently.
The lefthander was optioned back to Memphis (AAA) on Wednesday.
The 26-year old made eight starts for St. Louis last year and is one of those pitchers that falls victim to the Cardinals success. Like a Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez, or even Seth Maness all could be in the starting rotation of other Major League teams rather than competing for a final spot or pitching out of the bullpen for the Cardinals.
But with Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, and Shelby Miller starting there’s not much room in the rotation.
“It’s something I just try not to worry about because I’m in the situation I’m in—it’s a great organization obviously,” said Lyons, pointing out that he will be awarded a National League Championship ring.
“Not a lot of people can say they have one of those. It’s a great organization to be in obviously and that’s just one of the things you deal with. Great organizations have great players.”
The left-hander got off to strong start this spring, yielding just a solo home run and one other hit in his first five innings pitched. Tyler had noticeable command of his fastball and walked no batters in those outings.
“That’s what I felt like made or broke me,” explained Lyons on how he was trying to improve from last season. “It was never slider or curveball wasn’t there—whether that’s there or not, fastball command is what sets everything up. For me, that was a big deal this offseason—focus on being able to move the fastball around and being able to have it every day.”
Besides the fastball command, the lefty was also working on incorporating a sinker to his glove side. “Trying to bring it from off the plate, bring it back a little bit,” shared Lyons.
As the Grapefruit League progressed, Lyons was transitioned from starter to middle relief—with maybe a better chance to make the 25-man roster, but his last three outings resulted in 12 runs crossing the plate on 12 hits.
With the option back to Memphis, Lyons is expected to return to the rotation—where he will again be just a phone call away from St. Louis.