Cardinals promote Tyler Lyons to replace Jaime Garcia

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With Jaime Garcia on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury, the Cardinals have promoted 25-year-old lefty Tyler Lyons to take his spot in the rotation. Lyons had a 4.47 ERA with 38 strikeouts and nine walks in 46.1 innings with Triple-A Memphis.

Via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch and Chad Thornburg:

The Cardinals’ decision to tab Lyons as Garcia’s replacement was based upon a variety of factors. The timing was ideal given that Lyons’ next scheduled start for Memphis was to be on Wednesday. Also, the Cardinals did not feel that any of the pitchers in their bullpen with extensive starting experience — Carlos Martinez, Seth Maness and Joe Kelly — would have the arm strength necessary to pitch deep into a game this soon.

Lyons, selected by the Cardinals in the ninth round of the 2010 draft, is slated to start the series finale against the Padres on Wednesday.

The Nationals expect Bryce Harper to test free agency

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Earlier this week at the Winter Meetings, Scott Boras said that he and the Washington Nationals had had preliminary discussions about a contract extension for Bryce Harper. Harper, of course, can become a free agent following the 2018 season and is widely expected to command the largest contract in baseball history.

While that may have given some Nationals fans hope that no other team would get the chance to bid on him, the Nationals are of the view that they have no shot to sign Harper before he at least tests the free agent market. From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

A lot of this seems like mutual posturing, doesn’t it? Boras trying to make it appear as though the he and Harper are giving the Nats a fair hearing and the Nats trying to make it appear as though, no matter what they do, Harper is going to hit the market. I tend to believe, personally, that Boras and Harper are hellbent on testing the market, but it’s possible that there is some number that the Nats can offer to head that off, right? Maybe?

Either way: big year ahead for Harper.