John Mozeliak's masterful 2023 moves are going just as planned for the Cardinals

Between the 2023 trade deadline and this past offseason, John Mozeliak has transformed the starting rotation and prospect group in the system.
St. Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins
St. Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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Lance Lynn

When news broke of the Cardinals signing veteran right-handed pitcher Lance Lynn, fans were bewildered. Lynn had just allowed a league-high 44 home runs, and his ERA on the season was well north of 5.00. The plan was to have two pitchers better than Steven Matz and Miles Mikolas added to the roster. Lynn likely wasn't going to be better than either.

Reality has been different than expectations for Lance Lynn. He has thrown 30.2 innings with a 2.64 ERA, 2.23 K/BB rate, and a FIP of 4.78. The results are much better than the underlying statistics, but Lynn has done exactly what he was signed for: strike out batters and throw deep into games. He has averaged just over 5 innings pitched per game, and his 21.3% K rate is right around league average.

Another important statistic for Lynn is his home run rate. After allowing a league-high 44 home runs last year, Lynn has been able to limit the long ball much better this year. He has allowed 1.47 home runs per nine innings; while this value is greater than league average, it's a much more tolerable figure than last year's 2.16 value.

Perhaps the most important aspect of Lynn's game is his fire on the mound and levity in the dugout. Whether he's shouting expletives after a big strikeout or participating in tomfoolery in the dugout to keep things light, Lynn has emerged as a leader on the team.

Lance Lynn has a team option for next season, and if he continues to pitch as well as he has in the early days, it's feasible that the Cardinals will exercise that option to allow him to finish his career where he started it.