Posted on March 10, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
Slowly but surely, the top free agents left on the market are finding a home. The latest is starting pitcher Lance Lynn. Multiple reports have confirmed that the Minnesota Twins have agreed to sign Lynn to a one-year deal worth $12 million. Signing Lynn figures to be a great addition to the Twins, who have taken advantage of a slow market that has left many quality players willing to settle for short-term deals.
The 30-year old Lynn has spent his entire career to this point with the St. Louis Cardinals. He got his feet wet in 2011 and has averaged 14 wins per season since then. Lynn missed all of 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. But he answered all questions about his health and effectiveness last season. Lynn made 33 starts in 2017, going 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA.
After coming back strong from Tommy John, most considered Lynn to be one of the best starters on the free agent market this winter outside of Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. However, few teams rushed to make Lynn a lucrative offer, in part because it took Darvish so long to sign and because Arrieta remains unsigned. That has allowed a small-market team like the Twins to sign a pitcher of Lynn’s caliber at such an affordable price.
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When Twins ace Ervin Santana underwent finger surgery that is likely to keep him out the first month of the season, the Twins were under pressure to add to their rotation. Since then, they have responded accordingly. Minnesota pulled off a huge coup by trading for Jake Odorizzi. With Lynn also coming aboard, the Twins have transformed their rotation in a few short weeks. The club has also signed Anibal Sanchez, Addison Reed, and Logan Morrison this offseason, all for affordable prices.
Minnesota’s rotation will now be led by veterans Odorizzi and Lynn. When Santana eventually returns, the Twins will have three proven starters at the top of their rotation. In addition to those three veterans, the Twins may have a future ace in Jose Berrios, who won 14 games in just 26 outings last year. That will leave veterans like Sanchez, Phil Hughes, and Kyle Gibson filling out the back end of the rotation or taking up spots in Minnesota’s bullpen.
Assuming Santana comes back healthy, the Twins will eventually have a rotation that can match up against most in baseball. Even if it’s a rotation that’s filled mostly with no. 2 and no. 3 caliber starters, it will give Minnesota a chance to win most days. For a team that earned a wild-card spot last year and wants to take the next step, the Twins must be thrilled with how their rotation looks heading into the season.
For Lynn, signing a one-year deal for $12 million will be a disappointment, especially since he turned down a $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals. However, he’ll get another chance on the open market next winter. As for the Twins, signing Lynn at this point in the offseason for that price is an absolute steal that should have them excited for the 2018 season to get underway.