Lance Lynn: Contract Extension or Arbitration Record for Pitchers?


St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Lance Lynn is arbitration-eligible for the first time this year.

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Lynn, who posted a 15-10 record with a 2.74 ERA in 2014, is due for a big pay raise. Whether the raise comes via arbitration or a contract extension remains to be seen. He is currently under team control through the end of the 2017 season.

In four seasons with the Cardinals, the Indiana native is 49-28 with a 3.46 ERA. Lynn has started 97 of the 119 games that he has appeared in. He filled a big hole for the Cardinals in 2012 when he stepped into the rotation for an injured Chris Carpenter. It resulted in Lynn’s first and only All-Star Game selection.

Dontrelle Willis set the record for starting pitchers in 2006 with $4.35 million. This was later equaled by then-Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price. Lynn should equal the number if not completely shatter the record. One would think that the Cardinals will come to an agreement with Lynn prior to the Winter Warm-Up and Cardinals Caravan weekend. With the media covering Winter Warm-Up, there’s no better opportunity than to get it out of the way. Why wait until Spring Training in Jupiter?

An extension seems like the best fit for both the Cardinals and Lynn. There was some talk that Lynn would be traded last offseason for a shortstop but that didn’t go anywhere. He’s a key member of a strong rotation that includes both Adam Wainwright and John Lackey. Both Michael Wacha, given his shoulder, and Carlos Martinez, given his numbers last year, are the big question marks going into this upcoming season.

Tony Cruz is also eligible for the first time while Peter Bourjos and Jon Jay are eligible for their second time. Next year, Trevor Rosenthal and Matt Adams will be eligible and unless Adams is traded, the Cardinals will be looking at an increase in payroll for the 2016 season.