Today is the day most decisions have to be made on player options for the 2019 season. With Mike Moustakas and Joakim Soria choosing to decline their halves of their player options on Tuesday, that left the Brewers with two decisions to make on team options today -- Jeremy Jeffress and Jordan Lyles.
While we wait for word on the decision for Jeffress (that option will almost certainly be picked up), reports are that the Brewers are moving on from Lyles.
#Brewers declined Jordan Lyles’ $3.5 million team option, sources tell The Athletic.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) October 31, 2018
The Brewers acquired Lyles when they picked him up off of trade waivers from the San Diego Padres on August 5th, but the Padres let him go to the Brewers for nothing in return. He went on to appear in 11 games for the Brewers, throwing 16.1 innings in mostly a long relief mop-up role.
His first few innings with the Brewers were rocky, seeing him allow 6 runs in his first 3 outings, covering 6 innings. He was quietly impressive after that, though, throwing 10.1 shutout innings in his next 8 appearances, striking out 15 batters and walking just 3 while only allowing 4 hits. He did exactly what you want a long reliever to do: keep putting up zeroes in blowouts (whether you’re ahead or behind) and keep the team in the close games were you are forced to use him. He ended up helping save the bullpen a handful of innings and finished 5 games for Milwaukee, including the 11-0 win over Detroit on the season’s final day, covering 2 innings and making sure the bullpen was as fresh as possible for Game 163.
The Brewers certainly liked his arm when they picked him up virtually for free -- he was making just $750,000 this year -- but when that price jumped to $3.5 million to keep him around next year and the team figures to have plenty of long relief options with whoever doesn’t make the starting rotation next season, it appears David Stearns favors other options.
As Kyle noted the other day, Lyles’ days of being seen as a starting pitcher may be over (barring a return to another rebuilding team like the Padres), but the former first-round pick and top Houston prospect may have proven himself as a capable reliever thanks to some changes he made in Milwaukee and could end up making that $3.5 million (or more) anyway on the open market.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference