On Friday evening, the Rangers inked a deal with veteran pitcher Jordan Lyles for two-years and $16 million dollars. Lyles was a first-round draft choice in 2008 by the Houston Astros and the Rangers will be his sixth Major League franchise (Astros, Rockies, Padres, Pirates, Brewers, and Rangers). The plan for Texas is to insert Lyles into the starting rotation, joining Mike Minor and Lance Lynn (for now) with Kyle Gibson.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 7, 2019
In 2019, the South Carolina native showed some minor transformations to end the season on a high note. On July 29th, the Brewers acquired Lyles from the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league pitcher Cody Ponce. In his time in Pittsburgh, Lyles struggled with a 5.36 ERA walking 33 batters and allowing 88 hits in 82 innings. The struggles were a common occurrence for Lyles throughout his career, especially for a first-rounder. 2018 showed some signs of improvement as Lyles posted a career-best 4.11 ERA though he only started eight games. Lyles began last season on a high note with a 3.11 ERA in 55 innings and a 5-2 record in March, April, and May. However, he ended his time with the Pirates with a 0-3 record and a 15.00 ERA in four starts and twelve innings.
Jordan Lyles killed it once he went from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee last season. In 11 starts, allowed three or more earned runs just one time. Also struck out nine three separate starts.
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) December 7, 2019
In 2019, the strikeouts came in abundance. Lyles struck out ninety batters with his time in Pittsburgh (17 starts) and finished the season with a total of 146 strikeouts in 141 innings. The 146 strikeouts blew out his previous career-high of 99 in 2012 with the Astros. Once he went back to the Brewers, Lyles’ domination continued. In 2018, the Brewers acquired Lyles on a waiver claim from the Padres, where he pitched eleven relief appearances. In those 16.1 innings, Lyles allowed six runs, twelve hits, and struck out twenty-two batters. To finish 2019, Lyles became one of the more valuable players in an incredible stretch run for the Brewers to reach the postseason (7-1, 2.45 ERA in 58.2 innings). There are rumors that the Brewers were the first real organization to work with Lyles in changing the mixture of his pitches throughout an at-bat, something the Rangers worked on with their young pitchers and made them more than two-dimensional.
What does the move mean for the Rangers offseason?
Jordan Lyles seems to be on the rise, despite a rocky ending with the Pirates. The one worry I have is that Lyles’ main success came in the Brewers organization, while he didn’t post terrific results with the other four organizations. However, with a two-year, sixteen million dollar deal, the Rangers didn’t exactly break the bank for Lyles; therefore, the franchise enters its experimentation mode in acquiring Jordan. At this point, I would like to believe the rotation finalized with the last spot going to one of the young starters that got their feet wet last season. For that last spot, we’ll probably wait until Spring Training for those final results (would like to see Kolby Allard inserted in).
For the rest of the offseason, the Jordan Lyles signing probably takes the Rangers off the board for a big name starter like Gerrit Cole, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Stephen Strasburg, etc. unless the Rangers want to set up a position player trade. However, the biggest question looms, will the Rangers sign Anthony Rendon? All signs point to “yes,” and even GM Jon Daniels stated that the club is looking more externally than internally to address third base this winter. The secondary query to that question now becomes, when? My answer, give it at most a fortnight (I mean the real term, not how long it takes to complete a game of Fortnite). Do a little dance because this winter could get exciting!
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