What I want to talk about today is something I hadn’t really given much thought until last night when I was listening to the “Best Dans in Baseball Podcast”, (Dan Buffa and Daniel Shoptaw). Could the Cardinals potentially look to trade Lance Lynn? The two Dans talked about this as a potential shocker deal in the same fashion of the Shelby Miller trade.
Last offseason, the Cardinals had postseason disappointment for the third year in a row, yet had a promising future with all of the young pitching the team had amassed. With the unfortunate and untimely passing of Oscar Taveras, John Mozeliak was placed with the challenge of finding someone who could be a difference maker in right field.
He did just that acquiring Jason Heyward and dealing away Shelby Miller. Miller was the jewel of the farm system for years and had mixed results since becoming a regular in the big league rotation starting in 2013.
Nobody saw this coming. Mozeliak acquired a big name young player and gave up one of the most promising young starting pitchers in the game to do it. I’ll admit, I had mixed feelings about this, I had been quite a fan of Miller since he was drafted and had hoped he was going to become one of the next great young pitchers for the Cardinals.
It was a shock for most and a bit encouraging coming from Mozeliak and the team, who hadn’t had a big name deal like this since the acquisition of Matt Holliday in 2009. We now are waiting to see just how good this deal is for the Cardinals, as we wait for Jason Heyward to make a decision on his destination for 2016 and beyond.
Now we are in a different quandary, the club is in need of more consistent pitching. However, the team may also need a new RF/1B, depending on how the Heyward decision turns out. There are options in free agency that could fill those needs and the Cardinals may or may not be interested in them.
To say Lynn struggled this year is to put things mildly, I talked about this at length last week when I talked about the disappointments of this season. Lynn struggled with the walks and his overall command in many of his starts this season, it ultimately lead to him being on the outside looking in on the postseason rotation against the Cubs. The two teams Lynn struggled most with this year were the Cubs and the Pirates, two teams that the Cardinals will be fighting for the division with again next season.
Call to the Pen
Lynn is entering the second year of a three year deal that he and the Cardinals agreed to last offseason, this bought out Lynn’s arbitration years. Lynn will be a free agent after the 2017 season, so a trade would allow the Cardinals to capitalize on Lynn’s value instead of letting him walk in his free agent year.
The Cardinals have a slew of pitching prospects on the way up in Tim Cooney, Alexander Reyes, Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty, Austin Gomber, etc. So, if the Cardinals were to find a partner that would either give them the prospects help boost the system or a player to help contribute to the 2016 season a trade could be very likely. With Lynn out of the way it would leave room for one of these guys to come up and make an impact.
I know I said yesterday that it is not likely that the Cardinals will pursue any of the free agent starting pitchers. However, if Lynn is traded it could open the door for the Cardinals to pursue a David Price or Jordan Zimmermann. It would also give the Cardinals the luxury of having the opportunity to sign both Jaime Garcia and John Lackey.
If the Cardinals want to dip into free agency for pitching, Lynn has to be the pitcher to go. In each of his four seasons in the league, Lynn has seen his FIP, xFIP, and his SIERA go up. Lynn has also had negative value on all of his pitches except his fastball (which he threw 85.4% of the time this season) every year as a starter (according to Fangraphs).
What are your thoughts Cardinals fans? Could Lynn be on the way out?