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Wolfson: Twins Scouting Yoshinobu Yamamoto

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Re-Load vs. Re-Tool vs. Re-Build for 2021

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2020 MLB (non-Twins) Postseason Discussion Thread

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Not to add more doom and gloom

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The One Player Minnesota Shouldn’t Trade For

If you take a look at the top of the pitching leaderboard on Fangraphs you’ll notice a familiar name when sorting by fWAR. Somewhat surprisingly a look back at 2019 has that same familiar name in the top three across the sport. Despite how good he’s been, the Twins should avoid Lance Lynn at the deadline.
Image courtesy of © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Minnesota Twins are good. They were expected to come into 2020 and compete as one of the best teams in the sport. That has been true, and teams like that often bolster their positioning prior to the Postseason in an effort to make a run at the World Series. If Minnesota is going to go down that path, and they should, it will likely come in the form of pitching. Going into the year a starter was the presumed acquisition, and it may still be.

The Texas Rangers are not good, and despite hanging in near .500 at this point, they don’t seem likely to factor in as one of two third place teams playing in October. Assuming they feel the same way, veteran starter Lance Lynn could be on the trade block. He’s 33 years old and signed through the 2021 season at a modest $9.3M next year.

Besides being on a bad team, there’s a lot to like here. Lynn currently owns a 1.37 ERA through six starts, and he’s sitting down 9.6 per nine innings. He posted a 3.67 ERA across 208 innings in 2019 and topped 10 strikeouts per nine for the first time in his career. Finishing 5th in the Cy Young voting, it’s fair to say that Lynn has been everything for the Rangers that Minnesota thought they were getting when grabbing him off the free agent market in 2018.

Now we’ve come full circle, Lance Lynn has already been with the Minnesota Twins. It did not go well. Lynn made just 20 starts before being sent to the New York Yankees. It seemed apparent he viewed the deal as a below-market offer that begrudgingly was accepted late into Spring Training. He’s not a small guy normally, but came into camp looking out of shape, and stamina often looked concerning when taking the ball. The results came out to the tune of a 4.77 ERA and 4.4 BB/9 that ultimately contributed to career lows across the board.

It’s also clear that Lynn isn’t the same pitcher he was in that outlier of a season. His average fastball velocity is higher now than it was when Minnesota signed him, and some of the supporting numbers are better than they’ve ever been. Statcast numbers view him favorably in comparison to his competition across the league, and you absolutely can’t argue with the results.

Where it breaks down for me in regards to Lynn is what you’ll need to give up, and what you may be getting back into. Maybe it’s somewhat hollow to suggest a team not acquire a guy that previously didn’t work out, but I think there’s some merit to that. It’s not as though there’s been an overhaul in the organizational structure since Lynn was last here. There has been coaching staff changes that could potentially take him to even higher heights, but the bosses that handed him a paycheck deemed subpar still remain in place. Neither side got what they wanted out of the deal, and mentally that likely plays a factor.

On the basis of baseball merit, Lynn could quite possibly be the best starting asset acquirable at the deadline. His production has been top notch for the past year and a half, and Texas also has him under team control for another season. They should be asking for a nice return and dealing some combination of top prospects for that type of return seems underwhelming.

Postseason starting pitching isn’t as much about depth as it is having horses. With only three guys truly necessary and a fourth being arguable, the length of the rotation is called more into question. Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill are both proven and capable of being aces of a staff. Jose Berrios still is Minnesota’s internally developed ticket there, and Michael Pineda will be back in due time. For that group to include another member, the argument should be that they’re clearly head and shoulders above the rest. Despite what the numbers may say, I don’t think that’s a case you can make for Lynn.

It’s anyone’s guess how this trade deadline is going to play out. No one has seen much of what prospects are doing at their alternate sites, and there’s been no actual minor league action to evaluate talent real time. Throw in the wrench that Major League Baseball invited everyone to the end-of-year party and the incentive to sell is minimized. Maybe Minnesota goes the path of adding to their stable of relief arms, but if it’s a starter, I’d shy away from Lynn.

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22 Comments

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milldaddy35
Aug 20 2020 07:27 PM

I don't think you're going to get much pushback on this article. Don't think the FO would entertain it, either

    • Ted Schwerzler and MN_ExPat like this

I always liked Lynn.He's a tough competitor.I wouldn't mind seeing him back in a Twins uniform.

 

NO NO NO NO. No Lance Lynn on the Twins ever again. He was a infectious attitude, and not in a good way. Let him pitch for losers.

    • Ted Schwerzler, CharlieDee and shortround81 like this
Yeah Lynn came in pissed about his off-season negotiations and never wanted to play for the Twins when they had him. No need to bring that energy back. Their pitching depth looks to be replenishing now anyway. Knock on wood they won't really need another arm in the rotation.
    • Ted Schwerzler, Channing1964 and shortround81 like this
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railmarshalljon
Aug 20 2020 10:57 PM

Counterpoint: he's really good at pitching it seems. One of the best in the majors if you look at the numbers.

    • Channing1964 likes this
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Channing1964
Aug 21 2020 04:32 AM
I am sure I will get the business for this but Lance Lynn is a damn good pitcher and a damn good baseball player. In 2018 he had almost zero spring training and who knows why nobody signed him all off season but i suspect our FO felt some pressure from people like Jim Pohlad, Dave St.Peter, and even Molitor to do something, Anything to bolster our club after the 2017 wild card season. There was pressure to win and I certainly expected it. This dude came from a winning tradition (the Cards) and he had been solid for his entire career. Without looking it all up I am positive he played for Tony LaRussa and most likely he has at least one ring Whatever his demeanor was when he got here it was probably bad because of the contract situation(i.e. collusion by the owners) If you remember right we spent months trying to get Darvish when they could have had Lynn way earlier. I would like to see both of their career stats compared. Lynn was always a durable starter on a damn good title contending team and trading him for Tyler Austin made me think Falvey had his head up his A$$(as did some of the other 2018 moves but i am over it now). I remember the day they traded Escobar. They were in Fenway and Lynn just beat the Sox like 2-1 or 3-2. That was Boston's championship year. He was at least six weeks behind because i think he signed like a week before Spring Training ended but he is now what he has always been. A damn good #2 or #3 starter on a contending team. On the rangers he is sort of out of place. I heard about all the surliness but if you really paid attention that year you would know that dude is a Gamer for damn sure. He was pitching increasingly better every single start. I for one wish him the best. Unless he's pitching against us.
    • Doctor Gast likes this
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FritzDahmus
Aug 21 2020 07:12 AM

The Twins need more veterans in the bullpen. That is obvious when they make the call to the bullpen....and it is yet anther "rookie".

 

Give us more Romos, Clippards, etc....

 

Need to say - Love Duffy and May....and hoping for a Rogers improvement.

 

Home Runs, defense, 3 starters, and late-game bullpen heroics....win championships.

 

I'll bet even the disinterested BeHomeByEleven would agree with that.

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Ted Schwerzler
Aug 21 2020 08:10 AM

 

I always liked Lynn.He's a tough competitor.I wouldn't mind seeing him back in a Twins uniform.

I'd agree with you if he'd have never pitched for this regime, and it didn't go the way it did. I really wanted him that winter. Then it blew up.

    • MN_ExPat and Channing1964 like this
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Ted Schwerzler
Aug 21 2020 08:11 AM

 

Counterpoint: he's really good at pitching it seems. One of the best in the majors if you look at the numbers.

Absolutely, which is the reason you'd consider it. It's a no for me because of what I assume is between the ears when it comes to Minnesota.

    • MN_ExPat likes this
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Ted Schwerzler
Aug 21 2020 08:13 AM

 

The Twins need more veterans in the bullpen. That is obvious when they make the call to the bullpen....and it is yet anther "rookie".

To be fair Alcala and Stashak have been two of the Twins best relievers this year

    • Minfidel likes this
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shortround81
Aug 21 2020 08:29 AM

I can't remember the exact question, but Jake Odorizzi was asked which former teammate he would like to punk, and he said Lance Lynn. I feel like if Odo comes out to say something not positive about you, it can't be good. Odo seems like the type of guy to either say something positive about you or keep his mouth shut.

    • Channing1964 likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Aug 21 2020 09:00 AM
I’m not entirely against bringing back Lynn, but I’m much more interested in Ray. Get him acclimated to MN and then sign him to a long term deal in the offseason.
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Doctor Gast
Aug 21 2020 10:35 AM

Lynn is a great pitcher, always thought that but I agree w/ Ted that Lynn might have a bad taste in his mouth about being shafted by MN & the whole 2018 FA ordeal. IMO we should look else where

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Channing1964
Aug 21 2020 11:13 AM
Lets be honest here. Lynn is never coming back to Minnesota ok. There was something wrong between Falvey versus Molitor versus Lynn that was never ever going to work. We all know what really happened. Molitor was never supposed to succeed like he did in 2017 and then to top it all off he won Manager of the Year AND made the playoffs. All of that despite the FO doing everything possible to thwart their success. (see Brandon Kintzler trade, Jaime Garcia trade etcetera) I am sure the Pohlads told them that they had to give Molitor at least one more year and I bet it infuriated them when he succeeded in 2017 like he did. Ok. Now we have seen what they can do in a bigger sample size and the product is very successful. Back then I was so pissed off because basically they did tank the entire 2018 season as soon as a couple things went wrong. Im not saying they did it on purpose. But....how you not gonna notice Sano is so out of shape you send him down to A ball on June first. There were other little things that were so obviously skewed...real fans remember, the whole Ervin Santana situation for example. They screwed Molitor over that year royally. We are over it now. Lance Lynn was caught up in that mess and I guarantee he would never play for the Twins again because of that 2018 circus. Nobody can with a right mind say Lance is not a damn good pitcher. Things just go down that way sometimes and that was the way it was. I can't wait to hear what Molitor thinks about it all. He has way too much class to chirp about it this soon.

I remember his stint with the Twins. He would "labor" to get through 5 innings looking like a hot mess...I don't care how he looks now, I wouldn't touch that slob with a ten foot pole.

Lynn didn't do any favors to the Yankees in the last part of the season in 2018 either. Must have just been the year from hell for him. He had to be motivated to perform well because it was a "contract year" for him again. I was surprised that Texas gave him the 3 year respectable contract after all that, but they have been rewarded for doing so. 

 

I still don't want to see Lynn again, and I would consider him a good pitcher, at times, but never a "great" pitcher. I would much rather see Duran. Forward only. Not backward. I certainly don't want to trade good young players in this weird COVID year.

Maybe some of the posters dead set against Lynn are aware of some things Lynn said or did while with the Twins but his weight could be the result of not getting an offer until late, his slow start could have been due to a partial ST and his sub par performance was definitely due to still recovering from TJ surgery. Lynn knows how to pitch and has shown it. I think the only argument I buy in this article is that he won’t come cheap. Also, I doubt Pineda will be all that strong because of the strange layoff. He might be useful by playoff time but he’s not exactly known for coming prepared.
    • Channing1964 likes this

I remember his stint with the Twins. He would "labor" to get through 5 innings looking like a hot mess...I don't care how he looks now, I wouldn't touch that slob with a ten foot pole.

. What I remember was he was signed late and was coming off TJ surgery. He was still building up arm strength and struggled early but got better towards the end and has gotten even better since then. I think it’s foolish to turn down a near elite pitcher who knows how to pitch.
Eh, it's a business. The owners and front office treat it as such and now most of the players treat it as such now also. I don't think Lynn would give a rats a... What happened in the past if he were traded to a contender at the deadline. Plus I don't think Baldelli would care either about what happened over 2 years ago.

Right at this point however, I'm really glad the Twins didn't get Workman. He has stunk in Philly so far.
    • jkcarew likes this

I can't remember the exact question, but Jake Odorizzi was asked which former teammate he would like to punk, and he said Lance Lynn. I feel like if Odo comes out to say something not positive about you, it can't be good. Odo seems like the type of guy to either say something positive about you or keep his mouth shut.


And yet, we’d have a better team if Lynn replaced Odorizzi.
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Channing1964
Aug 27 2020 03:48 AM

Maybe some of the posters dead set against Lynn are aware of some things Lynn said or did while with the Twins but his weight could be the result of not getting an offer until late, his slow start could have been due to a partial ST and his sub par performance was definitely due to still recovering from TJ surgery. Lynn knows how to pitch and has shown it. I think the only argument I buy in this article is that he won’t come cheap. Also, I doubt Pineda will be all that strong because of the strange layoff. He might be useful by playoff time but he’s not exactly known for coming prepared.

i think the point of the thread was should we trade for him. The answer is Hell no. but it's not fair to sit here and criticize him for what was an anomaly in 2018. He has been solid in every year of his career. These are things that don't show up on analytic sheets or unless you would have talked to the man and asked him what was wrong. I hope we find a way to care about the players and use the data. Lynn would look good in our rotation now. Unfortunately that wont ever happen again.

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