These 7 teams should trade for Lance Lynn

August 29th, 2020

After a surprising breakout at age 32 last season, Rangers right-hander has taken his game to an even higher level in 2020, but the same can’t be said for the rest of the team.

Texas entered play on Friday with an 11-19 record, ranking last in MLB in runs per game (3.6) and 24th in ERA (5.16) despite Lynn supplying a 1.59 mark in 45 1/3 innings.

As a result, Lynn has been floated as a trade candidate, and Texas is reportedly fielding offers for the big righty, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required).

With Lynn under control for just $8 million in 2021 and the Rangers hoping to have fans at their new park for the first time next season, it’s going to take a lot to get Texas to move Lynn. But after holding onto at last year’s Trade Deadline knowing they had him under contract for $9.5 million in 2020 only to watch his stock plummet this year, the Rangers have an incentive to deal Lynn while his value is at its peak.

Lynn could be a true difference-maker in this year’s postseason, and the fact that he’s not a rental is an added bonus. Each of the clubs below should have him at the top of its wish list before the Trade Deadline, and here’s why. (Teams listed in alphabetical order.)

Athletics
In the Billy Beane era, the A’s consistently have been a competitive regular season team, only to sputter out in the playoffs on many occasions. But after losing in the American League Wild Card Game in each of the past two years, Oakland is in position to win the AL West this year and has a real chance to represent the AL in the World Series. Lynn would give the A’s a bona fide ace to start Game 1 of a playoff series in front of , and either , or . Oakland would also have the option of using Luzardo as a multi-inning weapon out of the ’pen.

Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are the favorite to claim the eighth and final postseason spot in the AL, and trading for Lynn would give Toronto a chance to really make some noise once the playoffs start. As it stands now, the Jays likely don’t have enough starting pitching to contend with the AL powerhouses, but a rotation led by Lynn, and could be tough. And even if Lynn didn’t make the Jays immediate World Series contenders, he would be back next season, when Toronto’s young core might be ready to take the next step.

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Braves
The Braves have remained one of the best teams in the National League this season despite losing for the year to a torn Achilles and not getting a single start out of free-agent addition (45-day IL, left triceps tendinitis). Atlanta has taken a measured approach to the trade market in recent years, retaining its top prospects, but after two straight NL Division Series exits, it’s time to get aggressive. Although is still just 22 years old, is now in his 30s, and , and can become free agents at the end of this year. In addition to significantly improving their chances in 2020, the Braves would be able to lock in a top four of Lynn, Soroka, and Ian Anderson (MLB's No. 42 overall prospect) for their ’21 rotation, allowing the club to focus on its offense and bullpen in the offseason.

Padres
The bullpen might be a more pressing need, but the Padres should be doing all they can to add talent while they still have and on pre-arbitration salaries. The Friars do have large financial commitments tied to , and , but Lynn wouldn’t break the bank this season, and he would effectively replace in 2021. Richards, who can become a free agent this offseason, is earning the prorated portion of his $8.5 million salary this year. Even if they make (MLB's No. 5 overall prospect) off limits, the Padres have the prospects to get a deal done with the Rangers.

Rays
Tampa Bay is leading the AL East, but it currently has 10 pitchers on the injured list, and five are out for the season. The Rays should dip into one of the game’s best farm systems to reel in Lynn, who could help make them the AL favorites. Tampa Bay could roll with a playoff rotation of Lynn, , and (if healthy), shifting back to the bullpen to aid an ailing relief corps.

White Sox
With a mix of young stars and veterans, the White Sox have become one of the most exciting teams in baseball -- and a serious playoff contender sooner than expected. However, their rotation is a question mark after and . No. 3 starter owns a 3.13 ERA this season, but it’s difficult to see him keeping that up when he has a 5.96 FIP and 6.04 xERA behind it. If they don’t make a move this summer, the White Sox will need to address their rotation at some point. Acquiring Lynn would not only help them in 2020, but also allow them to avoid getting into a bidding war for one of the top free-agent starters this offseason.

Yankees
You might have forgotten, but the Yankees actually had Lynn (sans beard) for a brief stint two years ago, as they picked him up from the Twins in a trade prior to the 2018 Deadline. During his time in pinstripes, Lynn began to show signs of the pitcher he’d become with the Rangers, recording a 2.17 FIP, albeit with a 4.14 ERA. New York was expected to have one of the best rotations in baseball after signing in December, but after underwent Tommy John surgery and went down with a flexor strain in his left forearm, the club is now lacking in that area. While the Yanks remain a World Series-or-bust outfit in 2020, general manager Brian Cashman also needs to be thinking about how he’s going to fill out the team’s rotation in ’21, as and Paxton are eligible for free agency this offseason.