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Article: Supplementing the Twins: Lance Lynn

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#1 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 08:25 PM

The Minnesota Twins are now well underway into creating their offseason blueprint. Coming off a season in which the greatest turnaround in MLB history took place, it’s only fair to wonder what’s next for this organization. The evaluation period for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine is over, which means it’s time for them to make their mark.Given the landscape of the 40 man roster, the Twins have opportunity to add some real pieces to a very strong nucleus. The lineup remains young and on the rise, while the pitching staff has a couple of holdovers worth penciling in going forward. To challenge the Indians in the division, and aim for a deeper playoff run, some hired guns will need to be acquired. So, where do we start?

Pitching is, has been, and will continue to be the most integral part of a big league baseball team. Minnesota has reliable starters in the form of Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios. Kyle Gibson remains an uncertainty, and there’s a group of about five or so pitchers that could round out the back end. With a shot at either Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish remaining a pipe dream, the organization likely will need to add two middle-of-the-road types that present some upside.

Enter Lance Lynn.

Coming off a three-year, $22 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, Lynn enters free agency for the first time in his career. Drafted in the first round back in 2008 by the Cardinals, he’s played for one organization throughout his entire career. In just shy of 1,000 MLB innings, he owns a 3.38 ERA across 161 starts.

After missing the 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery, Lynn led the league in starts during 2017. Taking the ball 33 times for the Cardinals, he owned an 11-8 record with a 3.43 ERA. With a 7.4 K/9 and a 3.8 BB/9, it wasn’t far off from his career norms, but Lynn did take a slight step backwards.

A relatively balanced pitcher, Lynn has generated groundballs 44.3% of the time over his career, and was at 44% in 2017. Homers have never been a big issue for him, despite the 27 (14.2% HR/FB) being a career worst this season. There isn’t a whole ton of hard contact generated off of him, and he makes things work with a fastball that tops out around 93 mph. The repertoire is mostly sinkers, with the occasional changeup and curveball filtered in.

Heading into his age 31 season, Lynn will be another year removed from his Tommy John procedure, and will likely be looking to capitalize on his lone big payday opportunity. I’d guess a deal somewhere in the four to five year range, with an average annual value between $12-15 million makes a good amount of sense.

Looking at what he’s done thus far in his career, it’s hard not to compare Lynn’s results to that of another Twins starter. While he hands out walks a bit more often, both the strikeout numbers and ERA compare favorably to that of Minnesota ace Ervin Santana. Bringing Lynn into the fold would give the Twins another very solid option every fifth day, and create a true trio of quality starters at the top of the rotation.

Over the course of his six year career, Lynn has been a model of consistency. Everything from in depth numbers like chase rate and swinging strike percentages, to surface numbers like strikeouts and ERA have held strong. Going into his more veteran years, that's a good indicator of a relatively safe bet.

When Derek Falvey and Thad Levine set out to begin offering free agent contracts this offseason, pitching likely will be at the top of the priority list, and Lance Lynn could be option 1. Instead of building a rotation full of lights out aces, which is simply both difficult and incredibly expensive, the Twins can add quality while increasing the water level of the group as a whole. Look for another pitcher to be targeted in this space next week.

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#2 jorgenswest

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:07 PM

With the lowest K rate at 19.7% and high walk rate at 10.1% of his career, any team should carefully do their homework. His career rates entering this season were 23.1% and 8.7%. I think both numbers have shifted in the wrong direction significantly. The drop and the move to the AL seems a very risky signing.
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#3 Otwins

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 10:54 PM

I would be very happy with Lynn. I think his second year removed from TJ surgery could be better than this year. And we would take his 2017 season. That would be an improvement.The problem I see is there could be more teams pursuing Lynn than Darvish or Arrieta because of presumed price. I think Lynn will get a very very good contract. I think it will be at least 5 years and closer to 18 million per year.

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#4 The Wise One

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 01:00 AM

Any player the Twins sign to be a starter is going to have a few warts and still cost a lot of money.Lynn has not averaged 6IP/start for a while. If you are going for second tier, Cobb would be better

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#5 notoriousgod71

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 05:01 AM

 

Any player the Twins sign to be a starter is going to have a few warts and still cost a lot of money.Lynn has not averaged 6IP/start for a while. If you are going for second tier, Cobb would be better

 

Why not both?

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#6 The Wise One

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 06:23 AM

 

Why not both?

Why both? Santana, Berrios, Gibson, Mejia,developing over the season will be all the AA arms. Besides in terms of payroll, there areother places that need money.The tired old refrain of Pohlad is a billionaireneeds to meet the reality that he did not get that way from spending it

Edited by The Wise One, 13 October 2017 - 06:25 AM.

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#7 LimestoneBaggy

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 06:49 AM

 

Why both? Santana, Berrios, Gibson, Mejia,developing over the season will be all the AA arms. Besides in terms of payroll, there areother places that need money.The tired old refrain of Pohlad is a billionaireneeds to meet the reality that he did not get that way from spending it

Injuries, pitching depth, regression...., I doubt highly the Twins land both of these guys, but I'm not opposed to signing both (and although they are expensive, I don't think it would dampen signing more relief pitching). I actually don't see too many other places the Twins need help other than pitching, pitching, pitching....besides, we already have some crazy options for a new third baseman...

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#8 lukeduke1980

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 07:30 AM

 

Why both? Santana, Berrios, Gibson, Mejia,developing over the season will be all the AA arms. Besides in terms of payroll, there areother places that need money.The tired old refrain of Pohlad is a billionaireneeds to meet the reality that he did not get that way from spending it

I think we need to sell high on Gibson and move on to something else before he ReBlackburnizes.Mejia's ultimate role might be as a Mijares.Anything from AA is simply depth for a contending team.


#9 jimmer

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 07:32 AM

 

I think we need to sell high on Gibson and move on to something else before he ReBlackburnizes.Mejia's ultimate role might be as a Mijares.Anything from AA is simply depth for a contending team.

Sell high on Gibson?How would that be possible based on his performance this season?Or last season for that matter (since both seasons practically mirrored each other).

Edited by jimmer, 13 October 2017 - 08:01 AM.

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#10 dbminn

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 07:35 AM

Lynn would be #2 on my FA list. A very good SP with a solid resume. He was worked hard in 2017, the first year after TJ surgery. I'd be a nervous about more than four years.

 

Spotrac estimates Lynn's worth at 4 yr/ $65M. That sounds too reasonable. IMO, someone will offer him a 5-year deal closer to $90M.

 


#11 gunnarthor

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 07:53 AM

I think we have to be careful with pitchers. Outside of the Roid era, most pitchers (not all) are usually done around 32. Obviously, there are exceptions and PED use is still happening but pitchers fall off a cliff faster than most realize. Lynn might be worth 3 WAR next year, 2 the following year and worth nothing over the rest of it. I think I'd rather trade for a younger pitcher or maybe take someone like Vargas on a one year deal while we wait for Gonsalves and Romero to come in.

 

That said, I'm sure I'll be the first cheerleading Lynn's signing if it happens.

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#12 Steve Lein

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 08:14 AM

Lynn would be one of my top choices since they likely can't afford a true Ace in the free agent market. He's definitely a guy that would bump everyone else down a spot in the rotation, which is how I gauge if you're improving.

 

While it wouldn't be a true 1-2-3-4-5 rotation, or a 1-1-x-x-x that the best teams seam to have, I would probably peg it as a 2(Santana)-3(Berrios)-3(Lynn)-4(Gibson)-5(everyone else) going into next year instead of the 2-4-5-5-5 it has been (at best) at the start of the past few seasons.

 

Even more improvement/consistency from Berrios and continued bounce back from Tommy John for Lynn and you might end up with something even better than that, and will compete very well with this offense.

 

My pipe dream is still Ohtani. Who knows how much international money the Twins have left? (haha)

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#13 dbminn

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 08:26 AM

 

Sell high on Gibson?How would that be possible based on his performance this season?Or last season for that matter (since both seasons practically mirrored each other)

"Relatively" high would be a reasonable comment. Gibson made some real changes in 2017. He rebuilt his mechanics in the offseason to get rid of chronic pain. He struggled. By the end of July, he had no value.

 

When he returned from one start in the minors at the beginning of August, he changed his pitch selection and threw a lot more strikes. He was the best SP on the Twins from that point forward (edit: not true - Erv was better - Gibson had a 3.55 ERA, Erv 3.12). His value is relatively high right now, compared to any point since the start of 2016.


#14 terrydactyls1947

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 08:34 AM

I live in Maine and all I get in the news is Red Sox so I know all about spending money on pitching. The Sox pay Sale $13M a year and Price $30M a year. That's $43M a year for two players. How much further in the playoffs did that get them? Not much further than the Twins. I would rather see money invested in extensions for the Twins young stars to keep this offense together for five to eght years. I think the minors have enough good starters and relievers to avoid going nuts on an "Ace" (whatever that is?). And if, after extensions are complete, there is money available for free agents, see what can be signed at a reasonable price. Or save the money until next year when you can pool it with the savings from Maurer's contract expiring. The free agent class is supposed to be much better next year.
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#15 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 09:31 AM

I refuse to accept that idea that we cannot afford an ace, and I'd argue that if you go into FA, you do it right and get the best one out there.

 

As for Lynne, I'd be very curious how the K/BB rates changed over the season given that he missed all of 2016. If they improved as the season went on, I'd be a bit more comfortable here.

 

I'd also caveat this as he's an NL only guy, which don't always transition well.

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#16 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 09:34 AM

 

"Relatively" high would be a reasonable comment. Gibson made some real changes in 2017. He rebuilt his mechanics in the offseason to get rid of chronic pain. He struggled. By the end of July, he had no value.

 

When he returned from one start in the minors at the beginning of August, he changed his pitch selection and threw a lot more strikes. He was the best SP on the Twins from that point forward (edit: not true - Erv was better - Gibson had a 3.55 ERA, Erv 3.12). His value is relatively high right now, compared to any point since the start of 2016.

 

selling high on Gibson might get you a low A medium ceiling guy with a crap load of question marks. I don't see teams paying much for him given his play the last two years. He's had a few hot months before as well, and that's the only thing that made him finish with similar numbers to his season last year (when he was hurt)...

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#17 lukeduke1980

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 09:44 AM

 

Sell high on Gibson?How would that be possible based on his performance this season?Or last season for that matter (since both seasons practically mirrored each other).

Hope that an NL team can be sold on his late season recovery as the representation of his current value; as opposed to a nice stretch of receiving lots of run support while pitching against mediocre teams

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#18 twinssouth

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 09:59 AM

Offering a 5 yr contract to a 31 yr old pitcher seems pretty risky. I'd rather offer a couple of high end prospects for a young, up and coming Ace.
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#19 jimmer

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 10:00 AM

 

selling high on Gibson might get you a low A medium ceiling guy with a crap load of question marks. I don't see teams paying much for him given his play the last two years. He's had a few hot months before as well, and that's the only thing that made him finish with similar numbers to his season last year (when he was hurt)...

yup


#20 T_J

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 10:01 AM

 

 

 

My pipe dream is still Ohtani. Who knows how much international money the Twins have left? (haha)

 

I actually think this is a real shot and they have been planning to make a run at him. 

 

According to this link, Deron Johnson was in Japan about a month ago. 

 

By my best guess, I think they have about 700,000-1,300,000 or so left. 

 

They have been adding cash in trades since Pat Light was traded. I can't find actual value on any of them though. 

Pat Light traded for cash

Danny Santana Traded For cash

Jason Wheeler traded For Cash

BrandonKintzler traded with 500,000 adding in cash

Nick Tepesch traded for cash.

 

I don't have any idea what the value of everyone here is in terms of cash, but there is something there.

 

And I'm just ball parking that they've spent about 4.8-5 million on international FA.

 

They are one a very few teams with much of anything left to use to sign him and of the teams with cash left, one of the only teams that can go over 300k. They are in a small group of teams with a chance here.