The Rangers took some heat for not trading Lance Lynn at the deadline this summer, with most onlookers more than a little befuddled that a last-place Rangers club didn’t move its top pitcher with a year and a half remaining on his contract despite widely reported interest. At the time, president of baseball ops Jon Daniels merely indicated that the offers for Lynn weren’t enticing, but The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal now shines light on the larger reason that Lynn wasn’t moved. Per the report, Lynn would have considered opting out of the remainder of the 2020 season if traded to a club for which he did not wish to pitch. The number of teams to which Lynn would have approved a deal isn’t clear, but that stance obviously tied Daniels’ hands in his efforts to coax an acceptable return out of a trade partner.
Ultimately, of course, the Rangers traded Lynn to the White Sox and landed six years of an immediate rotation replacement, righty Dane Dunning, as well as 2019 sixth-rounder Avery Weems. Now that the trade is in the books, a few more notes on the activity (or lack thereof) surrounding Lynn leading up to the deal…
- Despite considerable uncertainty in the rotation behind Gerrit Cole, the Yankees weren’t engaged with the Rangers on Lynn this winter, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Lynn seemingly checks plenty of boxes for the Yankees, as he’s been baseball’s most durable arm the past two seasons and would only come with a $10MM luxury tax hit (with just $8MM in actual 2021 salary thanks to a slightly front-loaded contract). Sherman suggests on Twitter that Lynn might have cost the Yankees pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt, who is similar to Dunning in that he’s a Top 100 type of arm who made his MLB debut in 2020 (albeit with a more limited workload and less success than Dunning). There’s no indication that the Rangers actually made that ask, but the two righties are indeed somewhat comparable in terms of age, team control and prospect status.
- The Padres, however, were in on Lynn prior to his trade to the White Sox, according to Rosenthal and colleague Jayson Stark (Twitter link). Rosenthal notes that the Friars are concerned about the number of innings their rotation can provide in 2021, which makes sense with Mike Clevinger out for the year due to Tommy John surgery and Dinelson Lamet ending the 2020 campaign due to his own arm troubles. As such, it stands to reason that San Diego will continue to monitor the market for other sources of innings, be it via trade or free agency. The Padres already owe a combined $86.05MM to the group of Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, Drew Pomeranz, Clevinger, Craig Stammen, Matt Strahm and Pierce Johnson, and they have arbitration deals yet to work out with Lamet, Tommy Pham, Zach Davies, Emilio Pagan and Dan Altavilla. With needs in the rotation, the bullpen and on the bench, it’s not clear how aggressively they can spend on any one individual piece.
- The Rangers will monitor Dunning’s workload in 2021 after he missed the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery and pitched just 34 Major League innings in 2020, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Dunning estimates that between simulated games at the White Sox’ alternate training site and that seven-start MLB debut, he tossed around 90 frames in 2020, per Wilson. He’ll be on a similar plan in 2021 to that of fellow young Texas righty Kyle Cody, who also missed 2019 due to surgery. More importantly, Wilson notes that Daniels indicated an intent to pursue some veteran starters to add depth to the rotation in the coming months. It’s not likely that the rebuilding Rangers will be in on any of the market’s top names, of course, but there ought to be plenty of affordable names looking for opportunities later this winter.
Yankees are obviously focused on Dj right now. Lots of decent arms available for “cheap” no need to trade the young arms we have unless your getting a top flight starter right now.
First, Lynn is a top flight starter (# 5 and 6 the last 2 years in CY voting), and who are these cheap decent arms? I get it, there are a bunch of free agent pitchers, but other than Bauer no one is as good as Lynn.
99 Captain Judge
@Big Hurt- I truly wish the Chi-Sox the very best with Lynn. Just keep him as far away from the Yankees as possible. He obviously can’t pitch in NY.
He pitched to a 2.17 FIP as a Yankee. There’s no reason to believe he couldn’t lower his ERA (which was acceptable anyways) over a larger sample size.
Lynn is not a top flight starter, he’s a $10M a year starter which makes him run of the mill for starters these days. His best years are far behind him in St. Louie and will prove to be an overpay for the rest of his contract.
“The rest of his contract” is one year.
From Craig Edwards, Dec 8, 2020 Fangraphs
“No matter the metric you use, Lynn has been one of the 10 best pitchers in baseball over the last two years. His 8.3 WAR here at FanGraphs puts him fifth while his 8.6 RA9-WAR is sixth. He’s second at Baseball-Reference with 9.8 WAR. He followed up a fifth-place finish in the 2019 AL Cy Young voting with a sixth-place spot this season. For those more inclined to traditional stats, he’s first in the majors in innings and sixth in strikeouts. For those using Statcast, his xwOBA over the last two seasons is .285 and ranks 15th among the 108 pitchers with at least 2,500 pitches thrown, right behind Walker Buehler, Hyun Jin Ryu, Mike Clevinger, and Charlie Morton, and just ahead of Noah Syndergaard, Shane Bieber, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, and Yu Darvish. Factoring in innings easily pushes Lynn into the top 10, if not the top five, of pitchers over the last two seasons.”
For the money, based on his track record, it will probably be easier for him to provide excess value than be an overpay.
Leading MLB in innings and batters faced with strong stats, like a WHIP a shade over 1, says he is a top flight starter at the moment. Until they play more games, he is one of the best.
FWIW, Lynn’s best FiP was in 2019 with TEX (3.13) over a full season. 2018-20 were all the 3 highest SO/9 ratios in his career, with 2020 being his career-low WHIP (in 84 IP). Even if NYY re-signs Tanaka, Lynn would have been a solid #2 behind Cole. He has found something left in the tank.
Dude his $10 mil is a huge bargain for Lynn. He stopped throwing his sinker almost altogether, and his cutter is filthy. The Sox now have something like 4-6 or 5-7 Cy Young finalists. (Not that many but they actually finished 4,5, and 6.). They are going all in to win this year, and they still didn’t give up their top prospect.
How dare you to use actual facts instead of just spouting off.
Len Kasper would agree
Lynn is a great bargain, and a low risk investment, but it’s a stretch to call him “top flight”. His WAR in 2019 was very high, even though his numbers were good but not great. His 2020 was solid, but FIP jumped. He will be a nice #3, maybe #2 best case, for the Sox and an insurance policy if Kuechel regresses or Kopech doesn’t come back strong.
My eyes say different
He’s going to opt out in 2021 the whitesox get rolled again. Remember when they got Jake peavy for Ss on San Diego
@Big Hurt – the Yankees wouldn’t trade Clarke Schmidt for a 1 year rental of Lynn or any other top flight starter. He is fine if you need someone to finish the year in which you believe you are going to the WS and need someone to fill in. Schmidt can pitch for a number of years for the Yankees at a minimal cost and the other free agent pitchers to fill the same one year void that Lynn covers can be done at a more reasonable cost than what it would cost for Lynn. This is especially important if the Yankees plan on getting under the financial penalty line and reset for 2022.
Lance Lynn has been a very good pitcher for years. He’s been highly underrated for many years. Once you do that you get the luxury of telling management if you don’t trade me where I wanna go I will opt out. Almost sad to see that… You’d think he wanna repay the rangers for signing him to the contract they did. But is understandable in its own right.
He’s going to hurt his arm again and dunning is going to be a stud This will come down as one of the many dumb trades by the white Sox
99 Captain Judge
@Fg-3- Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt are definitely not going to be traded. The Yankees have interest in both Joe Musgrove and Carlos Carrasco but wouldn’t move Garcia or Schmidt for either one.
I like Carrasco.. can’t believe Cle would let him go. A great man and a real heart filled story. I’d take him in a heartbeat
Are you seriously not been aware that for the past 40 years, the Yanks would gladly trade any prospect if they think it will help short/medium term? Even under Cashman, he had no problem trading Brandon Clausen for Aaron Boone, James Kaprelian for Sonny Gray or Justus Sheffield for James Paxton. Schmidt and Garcia will absolutely be sacrificed if the right deal comes along.
Rangers got themselves a nice starter in Dunning. Sorry to see him go. Hopefully Lynn continues his TOR performance for an extended playoff stretch in October on the Southside.
Steve, thanks for the added insight to why Lynn wasn’t moved last year. Also, Dunning was at the White Sox alternate training site last year, not the Rangers. Thanks for the Update
Yes, really interesting to see a player use opting out as leverage like that.
That’s what I thought too, future GM is Lance Lynn
Masahiro Tanaka is a perfect fit for the Padres.
99 Captain Judge
@Marty McRae- If the Padres offer Tanaka $45 million for 3 years, there is a great chance he would take it.
No doubt he would.
If someone offers Tanaka 3/45, I’d have that person checked into a psych ward.
Seems about fair market value to me?
I’ve heard that number a lot for Tanaka but I think that’s too cheap. I’m pegging 4 years, $80 million.
3/45 for Tanaka=psychward? Tanakas numbers in the post season alone make him worth 3/45 million on any team with playoff aspirations.
They aren’t doing that it’s broke city for Friars they are shopping in the fill in with cheap retread side of store
Tanaka is not going from NY to San Diego
He should joinDarvich of the Cubs a great 2-3 combo from Japan that will be some fans in The Professor will be great next year
I owe Jon Daniels an apology. I don’t think he’s done a particularly good job running that team but his hands seemed to be tied with regards to trading Lynn. And in the end it worked out pretty good for them anyways.
I sometimes owe Jack Daniels an apology…
Do you ever make up?
Nats gonna sign realmuto
Steve – typo should be the White Sox alternative site not Rangers in last paragraph
Wow. How long has JD been getting ripped apart on these comment boards and now we find out THAT! I guess there are things going on the other side that fans don’t get to see.
That’s a “no duh” comment but I feel like it needs to be said anyway because we are all so damn sure we are right about why teams didn’t trade this player or that one or how this trade package isn’t good enough.
A great example of why no one should ever take a concrete stance on anything based on these comments sections. JD was getting destroyed all year for not moving Lynn, but it was Lynn who found a way to veto a deal, thus handcuffing JD. Info is everything and almost every post on this site (other than the actual sign/trade posts) are packed with a lot of maybes and might theys and none of them have 100% of the info, but way too many commenters take these write ups to mean “fact”.
Bit surprised about this. I can’t see a non contender trading for Lynn as a year/year and a half rental. So then you look at it geographically and he goes from Texas to Chicago.
Intrigued as to who he was unwilling to play for? I might be being a bit cynical here, but this looks like a “puff piece” towards the Rangers FO?
Nevertheless I like the trade for both parties. If I’m the CWS I now look at (the astoundingly available and relatively cheap) Sonny Gray as the final piece of a 5 x no 2 rotation.
Add in Tony La Russa (leaving the off field stuff where it should be left) and the White Sox are compelling viewing for 2021….
I think teams like the A’s and Rays might always be a tough sell for players until they show they’re willing to spend. Toronto might have been a tough sell with having to play in Buffalo and then having the uncertainty of this upcoming season. I could also see almost any of the non-Braves teams in that division being interest in a 1.5 year rental who wouldn’t be that appealing to a player considering they are or could be pretty mediocre.
Hey A’s fan! Where’d you go? I haven’t seen you in a while.
Hello @ Rangers29
Was having problems uploading messages. They’d appear and disappear. The old adage about “switching it off & switching it on again” works wonders! How are you and how’s your pitching shoulder?
@ JD Goat – see your point big time – but I think it relevant that an old blooded newshound like Ken Rosenthal (who I like in spite of the bow tie addiction) might be thinking, new front office piece, need to make new friends…
That’s the cynic in me. Especially as Lance Lynn comes across as a real grinder. I could be really really wrong on this on a cold London December evening. I still can’t see him playing a covid card. I just don’t think that’s him. I could be so so wrong of course.
@Rangers29 – I like this deal from a Rangers point of view. Even if they use Dunning as a bridge to the new toys. They’ve got at the very least a solid back end starter with control for six years and a nice wild card.
Take care and stay warm!
My shoulder is fine, it’s my UCL area that I had issues with. I think the program I’m on is speeding up too fast, so I’m gonna cut it in half.
I have about ten more days of this program, then I’ll switch to a two week band program, and then back to the throwing program at full throttle before late January.
@Big Hurt – the Yankees wouldn’t trade Clarke Schmidt for a 1 year rental of Lynn or any other top flight starter. He is fine if you need someone to finish the year in which you believe you are going to the WS and need someone to fill in. Schmidt can pitch for a number of years for the Yankees at a minimal cost and the other free agent pitchers to fill the same one year void that Lynn covers can be done at a more reasonable cost than what it would cost for Lynn. This is especially important if the Yankees plan on getting under the financial penalty line and reset for 2022. Besides, the Yankees need three starters if they are chasing free agent starters in order to fill their pitching roster or go with the kids that are here for a long time at an affordable cost.
Over at a Texas blog we were talking about the likely outcome of the starting rotation in 2021, and here’s what we arrived at:
Cody-Piggyback (w/ Hearn)
Well now that the Lynn trade happened, we can say this:
Dunning – piggyback w/ Allard
Cody – piggyback w/ Hearn
Free agent (either Sugano, Walker, Williams, or Desclafani)
I feel like that Lynn trade brought a lot more stability to our rotation that we could’ve asked for. I like the top 3 starters all being younger guys too. In 22′ Cody and Dunning should be pretty close to a full go as well.
Yeah I agree. I will enjoy watching the young guys next year knowing the future is bright
Rick Hahn overpaid, as he always does, when dealing for veterans. He’s a good GM at tearing down the team, but when it’s time to build it back up, he struggles. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to recognize his horrendous failure from 2015-2016, perhaps because he paid absolutely no consequences for it. Hopefully, this turns out better than his last effort.
Man, y’all still have ptsd from the Shields trade… ouch.
Yeah I never got the “Big game James” thing either.
Good luck to him – made a career $100m plus (I can’t be bothered to look up the numbers) but the hype never punched the hit in boxing terminology…
It’s not just the shields trade.. He traded Marcus Semien, Chris Basset plus 2 others who are still on major league benches for 1 year of Jeff Samardzija. And it’s not like Semien and Basset were unknown.
The very players he traded came back to bite the Sox in he playoffs, and Hahn is oblivious to it. His background is in contracts; he knows nothing about talent evaluation or player development, or, frankly, trading.
What are you talking about?
Hopefully Dunning works out but the trade is one with good potential for the Rangers.
I really like the return for Texas. Dunning was a guy I liked coming out of college. Six years of him, even if he’s a 3/4 is a great return for one year of Lynn.
I agree with you. This was a good trade
I don’t see the future greatness of Dane Dunning. His MiLB statistics are good but certainly not an indicator of greatness. I’m higher on Avery Weems.
The ChiSox are going for it. They have a great offense and the AL is weak.
Preller bad moves look even worse now bloated contracts galore for hipster
Who finalized this deal? Daniels or Young? Just curious on how the timing works on this deal
Spare Tire Dixon
Padres should check in with the Cubs about Yu Darvish. If Chicago is looking to move payroll, Darvish would be a good candidate for a club seeking an ace!
Darvish would cost prospects and big $$
Yea Padres taking on that contract lol
Padres need to sign Sugano for the rotation.
Howie Kendrick for the Bench and bring back Trevor Rosenthal.
If they can’t afford Trevor bring Yates back.