Lance Lynn isn’t a long-term answer for the Yankees, but New York could look to bring him back to give their starting rotation a short-term boost in 2021.
The Yankees will be linked with a number of starting pitching targets this offseason. Lance Lynn isn’t a name that will excite fans in New York, but he could easily turn into a top target for Brian Cashman and his front office.
It seems to be a foregone conclusion that the Rangers will deal the 33-year-old right-hander this offseason. Texas is in no position to be a contender in the near future. That’s why dealing a starting pitcher in the final year of his deal makes a lot of sense. The idea would be to flip Lynn for a prospect or two capable of accelerating the team’s rebuild.
Lynn pitched for the Yankees back in 2018 before moving to Texas via free agency. This is the last year of the three-year, $30 million pact he signed with the Rangers. He’s due to hit free agency again next offseason after he plays out the 2021 season with a compensation figure of $10 million.
That puts him in the perfect price range for the Yankees. The organization wants to provide young pitchers like Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt room to grow into quality starters behind Gerrit Cole. Counting on both pitchers to serve as average or better starters in 2021 is a bigger risk than Cashman would like to take on. That’s why the idea of acquiring a stop-gap or two will hold serious appeal to the Yankees this offseason.
What could Lance Lynn do for the Yankees next season?
It’s easy to project Lynn as a player who can serve as New York’s No. 2 or No. 3 starter behind Cole next year. He made 13 starts for the Rangers last season and pitched to a respectable ERA of 3.32. Simply replicating that kind of form in 2021 would allow him to positively impact the Yankees in both the regular season and the playoffs.
The fact that Lynn will be a free agent in 2021 also means the Yankees wouldn’t necessarily be blocking the likes of Garcia and Schmidt for an extended period of time. The team would be under no obligation to re-sign Lynn after his contract expires. They might choose to do so if he excels during his second tour of duty in the Bronx, but the Yankees front office would have the flexibility to go in a number of different directions with Lynn and their rotation moving forward.
Finding a deal with the Rangers shouldn’t prove to be too difficult. The combination of a young major leaguer and a decent prospect should be enough to get something done. In a perfect world, the Yankees could use Miguel Andujar as the centerpiece of a deal. That might not be of interest to Texas, but this is a deal New York can get done if they want.
In the end, acquiring Lynn isn’t the sexiest offseason move available to the Yankees, but it might be one of the more likely options available to Cashman and his front office. No one should be surprised to see Lynn back in the Bronx in 2021.