Lance Lynn is still a free agent. It was recently rumored that he turned down a two-year deal worth $20 million from the Minnesota Twins. Why haven’t the Milwaukee Brewers jumped in with a real offer and added him to the rotation by now?
The Milwaukee Brewers have a few capable options vying to become their fifth starter. Lance Lynn is a better option than all of them. If the Brewers are really ‘all-in’ for 2018, why haven’t they added Lynn to their rotation?
How much would Lynn want?
If the two-year/$20 million contact offer from the Minnesota Twins is to be believed, it’s no wonder Lynn turned it down. A one-year ‘pillow contract’ could make sense for the 30-year old starter, but a two-year deal doesn’t. Lynn already rejected a qualifying offer from the St. Louis Cardinals that would have paid him $17.4 million for 2018. There was a zero-percent chance he would consider a two-year deal at a similar number.
Lynn is thought to want a three- or four-year deal that will pay more than $10 million per season. The Milwaukee Brewers have the payroll flexibility to make a move like this. Why haven’t they?
What do the numbers say?
The numbers say that while Lynn has an impressive track record, he’s probably not worth a multi-year commitment.
Lynn averaged 91.8 MPH on his fastball in 2017. That’s up from 91.7 MPH in 2015, but is it? The radar guns were re-positioned at Major League parks in 2017, and almost every pitcher saw a ‘bump’ in velocity as their pitches were more accurately tracked. There’s a real chance that Lynn’s velocity was actually lower last year than in 2015.
Lynn posted a career high 3.77 BB/9 with a career low 7.39 K/9 in 2017. Both of those numbers are trending in the wrong direction. His 3.43 actual ERA was more than a point lower than his 4.75 xFIP.
While Lynn is a better option for 2018 than Brent Suter, Junior Guerra, and Wade Miley, he’s unlikely to pitch at or better than the contract he’s going to sign. If Lynn is trending in the wrong direction at age 30, what’s he going to look like at the end of a three- or four-year deal? Even at $12 or $15 million per year, that contract could look really ugly in 2021.
Lynn can gobble up innings, but the Milwaukee Brewers already have more than a few innings eaters. They need an ace, and that’s not Lynn. The Brewers are better off keeping their payroll flexibility and waiting until an opportunity to add a legit ace presents itself. Moving for Lynn could look as bad as a few of the other free agent pitchers they’ve added in recent years.