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Lance Lynn to the Twins?

After coming up short in their quest to sign Yu Darvish, the Twins were forced to turn their focus toward other pitchers on the free agent and trade markets in order to fill out their rotation. They have since added two starting pitchers, by taking a flyer on Anibal Sanchez, and making a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for Jake Odorizzi.

Theses moves added just under $9M to the Twins 2018 payroll, bringing the total to roughly $118M. However, it is reasonable to assume that if the Twins were willing to offer Yu Darvish a $20M+ per year deal, they might have more money available to make another addition to the rotation.
Image courtesy of David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
If the Twins were to make another move, many would assume it would be one of Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn. According to a source close to Jon Heyman, he believes that Lance Lynn is a “pitcher of interest” for the Twins, and that he is favored by the Twins among the top three.

The addition of Lance Lynn could be the move that takes the Twins rotation from one filled with question marks, to one with solidified depth. Right now, the Twins rotation to start the season would be Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Alberto Mejia, and one of Phil Hughes, Tyler Duffey or Anibal Sanchez.

Adding Lynn would give the Twins five starters that they can trust in their rotation until Ervin Santana returns, and provide added depth if one of the other starters goes down with an injury during the season.

Lance Lynn had a strong performance in 2017, posting a 3.43 ERA (4.75 xFIP) over 186.1 innings, after coming back from Tommy John surgery. However, the inflated xFIP, along with a career low .244 BABIP last season cause some hesitation in thinking that Lynn will be able to replicate those numbers again in 2018.

Another area of concern for Lance Lynn is his fastball velocity. Lynn is a pitcher who relies heavily on his four-seam, two-seam and cut fastballs, and last year he saw his average fastball velocity drop from the 92.4 MPH it was at in 2015, before his Tommy John surgery, down to 91.3 MPH. A 1.1 MPH drop may not sound like a lot, but when a pitcher is already throwing in the low 90’s every MPH is critical, and if that number were to drop any lower it could be detrimental for Lynn.

There is one bright spot for Lynn coming off of 2017, and that was his 0.304 xwOBA. This ranked 45th amongst the 118 pitchers who threw at least 2,000 pitches last season. This suggests that Lynn was a slightly above average starting pitcher last season, and backs up his 3.43 ERA a lot better than his other peripheral metrics do.

So, if the Twins really do have aspirations of signing Lance Lynn, what would it take to get him? At the beginning of the offseason MLB Trade Rumors predicted that Lance Lynn would receive an offer of 4-years and $56M. Given the way the market has panned out this winter, it might be easy to assume that Lynn would receive an offer south of that mark. However, unlike Darvish, I don’t think there will be too big of a drop from this price, if there is one at all. A big reason for this being that earlier in the offseason Tyler Chatwood signed a 3-year $38M deal with the Cubs.

Given that Chatwood was considered to be a step down from Lynn entering this offseason, it would be hard to believe that Lynn would accept a deal that is equal to or less than that of Chatwood’s. If this is the case, it doesn’t leave the Twins a lot of wiggle room with either years or dollars for them to come down from the 4-years and $56M projection.

Additionally, Lance Lynn received a qualifying offer from the Cardinals. If the Twins were to sign Lynn they would have to give up their third highest pick in the 2018 First Year Player Draft (75th overall). Though, unlike previous years under the old CBA, the Twins would have had to give up their top unprotected pick (20th overall). So, by comparison, giving up the 75th pick in the draft for an established major league pitcher isn’t a terrible trade-off, but it is still a factor that the Twins front office will need to take into consideration before making an offer for Lynn.

Personally, I would like to see the Twins add another piece to their rotation, but the addition of Lance Lynn, or Cobb and Arrieta for that matter, seems a bit risky to me. If they are able to swoop in and get Lynn at an absolute bargain, I think they should make the move, otherwise they might be better off staying put, and look to invest more money into free agency next offseason.

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110 Comments

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Tom Froemming
Feb 23 2018 09:04 PM

The Twins aren't "in" quite to the degree I was hoping, but they've certainly made significant improvements this offseason. I think it makes sense to take another step forward. They have rotation depth, yes, but Lynn (or Arrieta, or Cobb) would represent an upgrade. If it takes less than four years, $56 million, then I say go for it.

    • David HK likes this
Good write up! Well reasoned and good comp on Chatwood.

I think 14 mil AAV is about right for Lynn. I’d like to see the Twins sign him for 2-3 years if possible, but if the 4th year is what it takes to get it done, so be it.

I don’t think this is the year to get an ace. Maybe with all the big money being swapped next year, a trade could be finagled. Of course the ace is preferred, at least Lynn (assuming health) significantly improved the middle of the rotation.
    • David HK and Tom Froemming like this

Do not like Lynn and cost will be too high.I would do 1 year $18 million first. 

    • Original Whizzinator likes this

Liriano just signed for $4M + incentives (another likely $1M).I would have preferred that to 3-4 years of Lynn.

    • David HK likes this

I am blah on Lynn or Cobb.  But if that gives me one less start from Gibson, who people on this site call a a for sure 4th or 5th starter, I am fine with that money.  Please no more 5.07 era..

    • mikelink45 and Vanimal46 like this

The last I heard (just before the Odorizzi trade), the Twins had made an offer to the Rays for Archer.I still haven't heard anybody say that possibility was dead.As far as I can tell, irons are still in the fire.That would be the one I would want to see happen.

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Brock Beauchamp
Feb 24 2018 01:11 AM

 

The last I heard (just before the Odorizzi trade), the Twins had made an offer to the Rays for Archer.I still haven't heard anybody say that possibility was dead.As far as I can tell, irons are still in the fire.That would be the one I would want to see happen.

I think the Twins managed to swipe Odorizzi for the price they did because no one would agree to the Rays' price for Archer. I think that deal is as good as dead unless a team ponies up a king's ransom for the guy.

 

And I hope that isn't the Twins. I like Archer - I like him a lot - but the Twins gave the Rays quite a bit of salary relief with Odorizzi and I think that only solidifies Tampa's position to hold on to Archer if they can't get the right deal (in other words, a massive prospect haul).

 

The Twins walked away with something of a steal in the Odorizzi trade. Consider yourself lucky and move on.

    • mikelink45, milldam, David HK and 1 other like this

The last I heard (just before the Odorizzi trade), the Twins had made an offer to the Rays for Archer. I still haven't heard anybody say that possibility was dead. As far as I can tell, irons are still in the fire. That would be the one I would want to see happen.


When it was reported, that offer for Archer was already 2 weeks old. Now it's probably been a month. With no further movement, and in fact a different trade between the two teams plus the Sanchez signing, I think that Archer possibility is as good as dead for now, until the Twins or Rays massively change their minds -- maybe midseason, at the earliest.

Playing out the projected rotation on May 1st, just for fun:

 

Lynn

Santana

Berrios

Ordorizzi

Gibson

 

I could live with that.

 

 

    • Brandon, bdodge22 and David HK like this

Playing out the projected rotation on May 1st, just for fun:

Lynn
Santana
Berrios
Ordorizzi
Gibson

I could live with that.


Better than last year I suppose, but still probably barely a top 20 rotation in baseball.
    • Oxtung, mikelink45 and Sconnie like this
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strumdatjaguar
Feb 24 2018 08:55 AM

Sure would like to see a lefty in the rotation (two would be better). Mejia and Gonsalves is all we got.

Better than last year I suppose, but still probably barely a top 20 rotation in baseball.


Barely a top 20 rotation? Seriously?
    • RaymondLuxuryYacht likes this

 

Barely a top 20 rotation? Seriously?

If every phenom in every organization pitches to their ceiling , all the old vets on other teams do not decline, Twins pitchers get injured an/or decline, then yes this is a bottom 10 rotation. .

 

When it was reported, that offer for Archer was already 2 weeks old. Now it's probably been a month. With no further movement, and in fact a different trade between the two teams plus the Sanchez signing, I think that Archer possibility is as good as dead for now, until the Twins or Rays massively change their minds -- maybe midseason, at the earliest.

It may be an old offer, but the Rays still need to dump salary, so nothing is really off the table.I'm sure they will listen and at least consider almost anything.

 

It also seems to me, every year we speculate on trades and various deals and there always seems to be these players that everybody is convinced will take a king's ransom to get.Then, they finally go and everybody is shocked at all it took to land them.I saw the same reaction from other team's fans when we got Odorizzi.

 

If the Rays are trying to dump salary, the Twins, as a team with payroll flexibility, actually have a lot they can work with.How much of their roster can we afford to take on?Do we have a cheaper alternative they might be interested in?

 

Example (just tossing out names here): Archer, Span and a right handed bat from their 25 man roster for say Enns, Grossman and a right handed bat prospect, plus maybe a bonus mid level prospect as a sweetener.

Playing out the projected rotation on May 1st, just for fun:

Lynn
Santana
Berrios
Ordorizzi
Gibson

I could live with that.


That works for me. No reason to believe Santana won't be back healthy. Berrios should continue to improve. Lynn should be stronger this year a full season removed from surgery. Peripherals and past history suggest Odorizzi is better than last season.

Call me an optomist, but that's a better rotation than we began last season with for sure.
    • sploorp and bighat like this
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Original Whizzinator
Feb 24 2018 01:19 PM

That works for me. No reason to believe Santana won't be back healthy. Berrios should continue to improve. Lynn should be stronger this year a full season removed from surgery. Peripherals and past history suggest Odorizzi is better than last season.
Call me an optomist, but that's a better rotation than we began last season with for sure.

Agreed that is better and there are better options coming up as well. By mid season we won't be resorting to a flier on a 45 year old anomaly
    • David HK and bighat like this

Barely a top 20 rotation? Seriously?


They were, I think 24th-27th last year, depending on the metric.
Lynn and Odorizzi combined for 1.4 fWAR last year. How far would that raise them?
    • Sconnie likes this

If every phenom in every organization pitches to their ceiling , all the old vets on other teams do not decline, Twins pitchers get injured an/or decline, then yes this is a bottom 10 rotation. .


Do teams usually make drastic leaps by adding one replacement level starter, and one 1.5 win starter?

It may be an old offer, but the Rays still need to dump salary, so nothing is really off the table. I'm sure they will listen and at least consider almost anything.

It also seems to me, every year we speculate on trades and various deals and there always seems to be these players that everybody is convinced will take a king's ransom to get. Then, they finally go and everybody is shocked at all it took to land them. I saw the same reaction from other team's fans when we got Odorizzi.

If the Rays are trying to dump salary, the Twins, as a team with payroll flexibility, actually have a lot they can work with. How much of their roster can we afford to take on? Do we have a cheaper alternative they might be interested in?

Example (just tossing out names here): Archer, Span and a right handed bat from their 25 man roster for say Enns, Grossman and a right handed bat prospect, plus maybe a bonus mid level prospect as a sweetener.


Nobody thought Odorizzi would require a kings ransom.

And that hypothetical offer for Archer isn't even a legitimate starter.
    • spycake and Sconnie like this
If Gibson has indeed turned some type of corner, and we get second-half 2017 Gibson out of the 4-5 hole, it's better than "barely too 20."

We know what Santana can give. Last won't happen again, but he'll pitch deep into games and give you an ERA around 4. Solid mid rotation guy.

Lynn would likely be very similar to Santana. Again, solid mid-rotation guy.

Berrios is the key. He's the real "ace," going forward IMO. I think he establishes himself as one of the best young starters in the game this year. He's a legit front-end guy with strikeout stuff.

Odorizzi should be fairly solid. High-floor there, but also some ceiling left, IMO.

Add those guys to a Gibson pitching like he did in the second-half last year, and that's potentially a very nice rotation.
    • Original Whizzinator likes this

Barely a top 20 rotation? Seriously?


Twins rotation was 19th in ERA last year, 23rd in FIP, 24th in innings pitched. And keep in mind, whatever we might gain from Lynn, Odorizzi, etc. could be partially offset by a loss from Ervin, both through missed time and likely regression.
    • Sconnie likes this

If Gibson has indeed turned some type of corner, and we get second-half 2017 Gibson out of the 4-5 hole, it's better than "barely too 20."

We know what Santana can give. Last won't happen again, but he'll pitch deep into games and give you an ERA around 4. Solid mid rotation guy.

Lynn would likely be very similar to Santana. Again, solid mid-rotation guy.

Berrios is the key. He's the real "ace," going forward IMO. I think he establishes himself as one of the best young starters in the game this year. He's a legit front-end guy with strikeout stuff.

Odorizzi should be fairly solid. High-floor there, but also some ceiling left, IMO.

Add those guys to a Gibson pitching like he did in the second-half last year, and that's potentially a very nice rotation.


Potentially, yes. In actuality? Seems unlikely that all happens, both in terms of health and performance.
    • Oxtung and bighat like this

If Gibson has indeed turned some type of corner, and we get second-half 2017 Gibson out of the 4-5 hole, it's better than "barely too 20."

We know what Santana can give. Last won't happen again, but he'll pitch deep into games and give you an ERA around 4. Solid mid rotation guy.

Lynn would likely be very similar to Santana. Again, solid mid-rotation guy.

Berrios is the key. He's the real "ace," going forward IMO. I think he establishes himself as one of the best young starters in the game this year. He's a legit front-end guy with strikeout stuff.

Odorizzi should be fairly solid. High-floor there, but also some ceiling left, IMO.

Add those guys to a Gibson pitching like he did in the second-half last year, and that's potentially a very nice rotation.


Well that is a lot of, and some really big if's.
I didn't say impossible if everything goes well, I said unlikely.
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bustedstuff88
Feb 24 2018 02:10 PM
Also the notion of Mejia or Gibson, Gonsalves and May being the odd men out and ending up in the bullpen isn't too shabby either.

Where does Hughes fit into this rotation?Everything I have read says he feels 100% healthy and is on a normal spring schedule.The last time we heard that was what, 2014?Sure, he is going to have to show us he is back, but there is no reason to think it isn't possible.And if he is close to 2014, this rotation could be very good...with or without Lynn/Cobb/etc!

    • Dman likes this

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