O’s 2022 rotation candidate: right-hander Jordan Lyles – Steve Melewski

It’s an assumption – but probably a pretty safe assumption – that right-hander Jordan Lyles is not only a rotation candidate for the 2022 Orioles, but he is very likely to be a key member of their rotation.

This is why the club agreed with the free agent pitcher on a one-year deal for $7 million right before the lockout, and the Orioles hold a team option on his 2023 contract.

Lyles went 10-13 with a 5.15 ERA for Texas last season. And that produced an ERA+ of 85 for last year or 15 percent under league average. But among the seven Orioles to make 10 or more starts last season, a 5.15 ERA would have rated third-best behind John Means at 3.62 and Bruce Zimmermann at 5.04.

Yes, we know the 2021 O’s starting staff did not set a high bar, but no doubt Lyles was brought here to provide not only some veteran leadership but to eat innings.

He pitched 180 innings last season to rank 18th most in the majors and that would have been sixth-most in the American League behind only Robbie Ray (193 1/3), José Berríos (192), Frankie Montas (187), Nathan Eovaldi (182 1/3) and Gerrit Cole (181 1/3). Then came Lyles and he was above all the rest.

And while the fact no AL pitcher threw 200 innings last year tells us quite a bit about how pitchers are used now, Lyles was…

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