The Rockies announced on Wednesday that they have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Lyles, avoiding arbitration with the right-handed pitcher.
The 26-year-old made five starts and 35 relief appearances for the Rockies in 2016. As a starter, he went 1-2 with an 8.55 ERA, 14 walks and 12 strikeouts. He pitched just 20 innings as a starter last season, including 2.1 frames in his final start against Pittsburgh on May 23. Although he gave up four earned runs in the short outing, he’s most remembered on the day for hitting Pittsburgh pitcher Ryan Vogelsong in the head, causing one of the scarier moments of the 2016 campaign.
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He would not pitch again for the Rockies until June 22, when he made his first relief appearance after being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on June 20.
In eight starts with Triple-A Albuquerque last season, he went 4-2 with a 5.44 ERA with 18 walks and 29 strikeouts. However, it was the bullpen that seemed to be his saving grace with the Rockies last season.
The strength of Lyles out of the bullpen came in July and August when he combined to 2-2 with his lone save and allow just six earned runs in 24.2 innings of work. However, he imploded in September and October, surrendering 10 earned runs in just 8.1 innings.
He finished the season going 3-3 with one save and a 4.42 ERA with 14 walks and 20 strikeouts out of the bullpen.
How Lyles ended the season gave cause for many to think he wouldn’t be back with the Rockies in 2017. However, Wednesday’s move ensured Lyles will return to the Rockies next season. It’s likely he’ll return to his role in the bullpen.
Lyles was originally acquired by the Rockies via trade with the Houston Astros on December 3, 2013. He is 27-43 with a 5.17 ERA with 210 walks and 411 strikeouts across parts of six seasons with the Astros (2011-2013) and Rockies (2014-2016).