Milwaukee Brewers: Interest in free agent Lance Lynn?
By Isaac Buttke
Lance Lynn is one of the top starting pitchers on the free agent market. With roughly a month until spring training begins, the Milwaukee Brewers are still considered one of the right-hander’s top suitors. Is a deal on the horizon?
Lance Lynn has only played for the St. Louis Cardinals in his major-league career. However, there’s a decent chance that he could end up in Milwaukee if recent rumors are true. Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports that the Brewers are one of four teams for sure in on Lynn. Interestingly, the other three teams all reside in the American League. Trezza notes the Twins, Orioles and Angels as the other teams in on Lynn.
Is Lance Lynn really a fit with the Brewers?
To answer this briefly, yes. The Milwaukee Brewers certainly have their fair share of arms, especially after obtaining Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo this off season. Prospects Corbin Burnes and Luis Ortiz also aren’t far from the Majors. However, there isn’t truly a standout pitcher in the bunch unless Jimmy Nelson and Chase Anderson can prove to be an ace-caliber pitcher once again.
Enter Lynn. Lynn posted sub-4.00 ERAs every year in the Majors. He also typically had FIPs that were even lower than his ERA. This trend changed last year, but it seems like that’s more a result of the league-wide increase in home run balls given his relatively high groundball rate and low hits allowed per nine innings. Some may be scared off by his recent Tommy John surgery, but he managed to log 186 1/3 innings last season. Durability is hardly a concern for the 30-year-old after his showing in 2017.
Granted, a left-handed starter is ideal for Milwaukee, but beggars can’t be choosers. He’s been a consistent pitcher his entire career and even has some postseason experience that could prove to be valuable if the Milwaukee Brewers make a push for October.
What is Lance Lynn really worth?
It’s surprising to see Lynn still on the table at this point of the off season. It seems like most teams are waiting for Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta to pick a new home before pulling the trigger on a relatively inferior option like Lynn. However, one advantage to signing Lynn instead is that he’ll likely cost significantly less than the other two.
Most projections have Lynn signing a deal somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 million over four years. There’s a chance that he’ll be looking for a five-year deal, but it’s still significantly cheaper than the nine-figure deals Darvish and Arrieta likely will be commanding. Even Alex Cobb is being linked to bigger contracts than Lynn at times.
Nonetheless, Lynn seems to fit right in with General Manager David Stearns’ philosophy. Buy low on underrated players and watch them blossom in Milwaukee. A four-year deal would make Lynn 34 upon expiration of the contract, but he still seems to have some gas left in the tank.
What happens if the Brewers land Lance Lynn?
If Lynn isn’t granted the Opening Day start over Anderson, he’ll at least lock into the rotation as the number two starter. He could also hold his high post after Nelson returns. Of course, that would also depend on Lynn’s performance to that point.
Residually, a move like this could move Gallardo into a long relief role for the season. Granted, there are other options to move to the bullpen, but given his recent struggles, he isn’t even a lock to make the rotation as things stand now. Brandon Woodruff and Brent Suter may even get to spend more time in the minors. That seems a bit far-fetched though, especially for the former. Additionally, Josh Hader could be kept in the bullpen to further thrive in a late-inning role. Junior Guerra and Jorge Lopez could also see a move to the bullpen as a result.
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Given the Brewers’ payroll situation, signing Lynn is a very realistic possibility. A spot on the 40-man roster may even be opening up soon due to Wei-Chung Wang’s expected departure for Korea. Can the Brewers outbid the three American League teams still in the running for his services? Only time will tell, but the Milwaukee Brewers definitely have an excellent shot at doing so.