- At day one of MLB’s Winter Meetings came to a conclusion, the White Sox acquired right-hander Lance Lynn from the Texas Rangers
- Lynn excelled over the last two seasons in Texas, ranking among the best starting pitchers in the AL in a variety of categories
- Trade adds additional value to the Sox’s 2021 World Series odds
The MLB’s Winter Meetings began on Monday – virtually, of course – and as day one came to a conclusion, a World Series contender swung a deal for one of the better pitchers in the American League over the past two seasons.
White Sox Acquire Lynn From Rangers
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Chicago White Sox have acquired right-hander pitcher Lance Lynn from the Texas Rangers late Monday night.
In return, Passan notes that young righty Dane Dunning is headed back to the Rangers in the deal, although the full extent of the trade has seemingly yet to be confirmed.
Right-hander Dane Dunning is going back to the Texas Rangers in the Lance Lynn deal, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 8, 2020
Lynn has long been on the trade block for a Rangers team that took a step back in 2020, but the team was hesitant to the deal their ace after re-tooling their pitching staff prior to the season.
Now Lynn, 33, joins a World Series-contending White Sox team that is rumored to be involved on some big names this offseason in the hope of avenging a Wild Card-round loss to the Oakland Athletics in the 2020 season.
As for Dunning, the 25-year-old made his big-league debut last season, impressing to a 3.97 ERA/3.99 FIP to go along with a 9.26 K/9 across seven starts and 34 innings, going 2-0 in the process.
MLB Pipeline has Dunning as the 98th-ranked prospect in baseball and the fifth-ranked prospect in the White Sox system. He will likely be given an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Rangers’ rotation in 2021 after the team will now be without Lynn, Mike Minor (traded at 2020 deadline) and Corey Kluber (free agent) from the rotation they began the 2020 season with.
The Rangers are coming off a 22-38 season that landed them in the basement of the AL West while the White Sox, despite finishing third in the AL Central, finished at 35-25, but also went 2-8 in their final 10 regular-season games, blowing a division lead in the process.
Lynn Coming Off Two Excellent Seasons
Lynn spent the first six seasons of his big-league career with the St. Louis Cardinals, working to a 3.97 ERA or better in each of those six campaigns. He signed with the Minnesota Twins as a free agent prior to the 2018 season, but after posting a 5.10 ERA in 20 starts with the Twins, he was traded to the Yankees where he improved to a 4.14 ERA across nine starts and 11 appearances.
That said, Lynn truly re-discovered his form after signing with the Rangers prior to the 2019 season. That year, he won 16 games while posting a 3.67 ERA/3.13 FIP across 33 starts and a career-high 208.1 innings. His 6.8 fWAR from 2019 ranked second in the American League and third in all of baseball behind only Gerrit Cole (7.4) and Jacob deGrom (7.0).
Lance Lynn is the second consecutive @Rangers pitcher to toss double digit K’s!
Here’s how he got his 12th and final strikeout.#TogetherWe pic.twitter.com/6h1PLN3KFQ
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) May 22, 2019
Add in a 3.32 ERA and 1.5 fWAR across 13 starts and 84 innings in the 2020 season, and Lynn ranks third in the AL with an 8.3 fWAR over the last two seasons behind Cole (8.9) and 2020 AL Cy Young Winner Shane Bieber (8.7).
As a result, it appears the Rangers are getting one of the league’s better hurlers to add to a pitching staff led by ace Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel, the latter of whom ranked second in the AL with a 1.99 ERA in the shortened 2020 season. Youngsters Dylan Cease and Michel Kopech are likely to fill out the remainder of the rotation, although the latter will be on an innings limit in his return from 2019 Tommy John Surgery.
Trade Increases White Sox Value
Prior to the deal, the White Sox sported +1400 odds to win the 2021 World Series, as per BetOnline. Whether we see an odds shift coming out of the deal remains to be seen, although it’s fair to say the acquisition only adds value to those odds.
Aside from what looks like a stout top three in the rotation at this point, you need not be reminded about a White Sox offense containing the likes of 2020 AL MVP Jose Abreu, 2020 AL Rookie of the Year runner-up Luis Robert, 2019 AL Batting Champion Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal, Eloy Jimenez and more.
The White Sox offense ranked second in the AL with a .334 wOBA last season, behind only the New York Yankees and their .341 mark. They also ranked second with a .192 ISO but first by a mile with a 13.8 fWAR from their offense a season ago.
The team also boasts a top-10 bullpen from a season ago, making them one of the best well-rounded rosters in baseball.
If Lynn can even come close to his results over the last two seasons again in 2021, the White Sox are serious 2021 World Series contenders and their odds certainly carry notable value to be sure.