As the off-season continues to slowly move along, many top free agents are still without a home. Should the St. Louis Cardinals look to bring back a familiar face?
Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, and Lance Lynn are just some of the top free agents yet to sign a deal. One could argue as the season nears, their asking prices might drop. Would it then make sense for the St. Louis Cardinals to make an offer to the former Redbird?
Right now, it is predicted by MLB Trade Rumors Lynn will sign a four year deal worth $56 million, an annual average value of $14 million. Another site projects his market value at four years and approximately $68 million, an AAV of $17 million. Rumors have stated he is searching for a five year deal worth about $100 million, an unlikely agreement (maybe that is why he is still looking for a job).
Considering his projected contract, let’s take a look into the pros and cons of bringing the big guy back.
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Lance Lynn has been a very reliable pitcher since his first full season in 2012. He missed all of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, but from 2012-2017 he has thrown at least 175 innings and had an ERA under 4.00.
He’s been worth at least 3 rWAR his last three seasons (2014, 2015, and 2017). For his career, he is 72-47 with a 3.38 ERA and 114 ERA+. 100 is average, therefore 114 means he has been 14% better than the average pitcher.
He is definitely not an ace, maybe not even a number two. But, he has been and could be a very valuable third or fourth starter.
The St. Louis Cardinals definitely have the money to pay him, especially in the $14-17 million per year range. He would add a lot of depth to our pitching staff. He is also a good teammate, and who knows what Mike Maddux could do with him? Maybe they finally figure out a plus secondary offering to go along with his great fastball and he turns into a legitimate number two or co-ace.
There are many in my opinion. First, the St. Louis Cardinals have a ton of young pitching talent I believe need to pitch. Re-signing Lynn would send a current starter to the bullpen – either Adam Wainwright, Luke Weaver, Michael Wacha, or Miles Mikolas would get pushed out of the starting rotation. This would also effectively block Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Jordan Hicks, and others. Having a bunch of young talent without a major league roster spot could allow for a big trade, however. But, I want to see these young guys throw.
The Cardinals would lose the chance to receive a compensation pick they will receive for Lynn rejecting their qualifying offer. Those are valuable picks. Also, Lynn is on the wrong side of 30-years-old and a deep look into some of his peripheral stats show he is on a decline (read the related story below that I wrote a few months ago).
Also, the team would hypothetically be getting four years of control for about $15 million per season. These young guys have at least six years of control for much, much cheaper.
Overall, I do not think it would be wise to re-sign Lynn. While he may provide some depth for a year or two, I think he is spiraling downward. The back-end of his contract would look awful (like most long contracts). Someone is going to overpay for him. And, it won’t be the St. Louis Cardinals.
What do you guys think? Would you like to see Lynn back in a Cardinals uniform? Or, are you like me and think we need to stay away? Let me know and thanks for reading.