Earlier today, St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Lance Lynn underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The Cardinals' official Twitter account stated that he would miss the entire 2016 season.
During the season wrap down press conference, Cardinals' GM John Mozeliak nor manager Mike Matheny indicated that there was even a possibility that Lynn would have to undergo Tommy John surgery. MLB.com stated that the team didn't know until recently that he was having any elbow troubles. Lynn stated he played through the pain through most of the season.
Lynn was drafted in the first round in 2008 by the Cardinals and made his major league debut in 2011. He went 12-11 in the 2015 regular season, posting a 3.03 ERA. Lynn signed a three-year deal during last year's off season with the Cardinals worth $22 million. He will be getting paid $7.5 million next season while recovering. As long as he has no setbacks, he should be back for his final season under contract before hitting free agency.
With the injury to Lynn, the Cardinals may pursue another pitcher during the off season. Luckily, a healthy Adam Wainwright will be returning to the rotation. Wainwright suffered an Achilles tear and only made a few relief appearances afterwards at the end of the season. Right-hander Carlos Martinez ended the 2015 season with a shoulder injury but expected to have a normal offseason. Michael Wacha was an All-Star this past season and will be a big part of the rotation in 2016. Jaime Garcia had a good 2015 season but is also very injury prone. As long as he stays healthy, the Cardinals will have a solid rotation once they add another pitcher.
According to MLB.com, the team has a qualifying offer out to John Lackey. Lackey has until Friday to decide if he wants to accept or not.
The free agent market is full of starting pitchers this year so it's not completely irrational to believe the Cardinals will decide to pick someone up to help strengthen their rotation with Lynn's absence.