The Texas Rangers have made it clear for a while now that they are a rebuilding team.
In other words, he was a win-now move for a franchise that entered a rebuild some time later.
The terms of the agreement were two years and $16 million, and he is making $8 million this season.
Lyles had a 4.15 ERA in that 2019 season as a whole, but what earned him his payday was a fantastic 11-start stretch in the second half with the Milwaukee Brewers after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Over those 11 starts, Lyles was 7-1 with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP over two months.
However, and given the current state of the franchise, the Rangers sure would love to trade Lyles to the first team that approaches them with some sort of offer.
Unfortunately for them, that’s highly unlikely to happen for several reasons.
A Rough Year
Lyles, a career 5.22 ERA pitcher in 1,074.2 frames, is not having a particularly promising season.
In 107.1 innings with the Rangers in 2021, Lyles has a 5.20 ERA and a 5.53 Fielding Independent Pitching, or FIP.
Other run prevention metrics such as expected ERA (5.46) and expected FIP (5.00) think he is bad, as well.
Lyles has had a notorious issue with home runs allowed: he has conceded 2.01 dingers for every nine innings and 24 in total, one of the worst marks in the American League.
— Follow The Gaucho (@brooklyngaucho1) July 22, 2021
Even his strikeout ability is dissipating: in that dreamy 2019, he struck out 9.32 hitters per nine innings, but this year, that number is all the way down to 7.04.
It was a ghastly 5.62 last year in 57.2 innings, if you are asking, and it came with a 7.02 ERA.
It’s fair to say that the Lyles era in Texas has been a failure.
An Expensive Fifth Starter?
The Rangers would love to trade Lyles because they are paying him $8 million this season to go nowhere but last place.
The Rangers are comfortably in the cellar of the American League West, and they won’t get out of there in 2021 with the remaining four teams in contention or at least intending to.
Making matters worse, Lyles is the Rangers’ second-highest paid player with his $8 million salary, only behind Kyle Gibson’s $9.67 million.
Gibson is also under contract next season, but given he is already 33 and could be much older when the Rangers are ready to compete, he will likely be dealt in the coming days.
Lyles could be dealt, too, but it’s hard to envision a team taking a chance on him without Texas eating some salary.
Even still, his 2021 (and 2020) numbers certainly don’t help.
Brewers fans over social media, most notably Twitter, have joked about the Rangers trading Lyles to them to “fix” him again and to help eat innings as the team prepares for a postseason run.
Gimme Jordan Lyles to eat 60 innings the rest of the year please. We clearly have an obligation to keep these starters healthy. They’re the only shot we have in October. Jordan Lyles is the answer.
— Ben Q #ExtendWillyAdames (@Qbaseball1969) July 24, 2021
There is some truth to that statement.
Lyles could make sense if they think they can get him back on track and the Rangers eat some salary.
It is unlikely, though.