CHICAGO -- Lance Lynn’s White Sox debut was worthy of a third-place finish in the 2021 American League Cy Young Award voting, as announced Wednesday night on MLB Network. Toronto’s Robbie Ray won the award, picking up 29 of the possible 30 first-place votes, with the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole finishing second via one first-place vote and 29 second-place votes.
Lynn received 11 third-place votes, five fourth-place votes and five fifth-place votes.
“[This is my] first time being in the final three; I’ve been in the top 10 the last couple years,” the 34-year-old said on a Thursday afternoon video conference with reporters. “So I’m making steps toward the ultimate goal as an individual, but you’re not going to be there without your team. We had a good year.”
Lynn was acquired during the offseason from Texas in a trade that sent right-hander Dane Dunning and Minor League lefty Avery Weems to the Rangers. Lynn became the perfect answer for a team that looked at least one high-quality starter short during the 2020 Wild Card Series loss to the A’s in three games.
Over 157 innings and 28 starts this season, Lynn posted a 2.69 ERA. He struck out 176, walked 45 and allowed 123 hits. Lynn also recorded one shutout, which came in his second start with Chicago and his first at Guaranteed Rate Field with the White Sox. In that scoreless outing, he fanned 11 Royals and allowed five hits and no walks over 111 pitches.
There will be plenty of chances for more efforts like this one with the White Sox, as Lynn agreed to a two-year, $38 million extension on July 17, with an $18 million club option for 2024. He will join Giolito, Dylan Cease, Dallas Keuchel and Michael Kopech, who is moving from the bullpen back to the rotation, as the team’s anticipated starting five for 2022.
Along with his on-field effort, Lynn was one of the most charismatic and dynamic quotes on the team. He was somewhat hampered down the stretch by right knee inflammation, but he was still the team’s Game 1 starter in a four-game Division Series loss to the eventual AL champion Astros.
Lynn said Thursday he underwent an MRI on the knee last week with encouraging results. He won't need any surgery on it this offseason.
“We’re just making sure we’re rehabbing, staying on track with that," Lynn said. "Changing some of the ways that I work out and do things like that to strengthen certain areas and make sure it doesn’t flare up again. It’s just going to be part of a new routine as the season goes on, and something that I’m going to have to do the rest of my career.”
Rodón’s tremendous performance in 2021 should not be forgotten. After throwing just 42 1/3 innings combined over injury-plagued 2019 and 2020 seasons, Rodón posted a 13-5 record with a 2.37 ERA over 24 starts and 132 2/3 innings. The free agent, who did not receive a qualifying offer from the White Sox, struck out 185, walked 36 and no-hit the Indians on April 14.
Hendriks repeated as the AL Reliever of the Year, recording 38 saves during his first year with the White Sox. He also struck out 113 and walked only seven over 71 innings. Cease did not receive a Cy Young vote, but he finished third in the AL with 226 strikeouts.
The White Sox staff, under first-year pitching coach Ethan Katz and assistant pitching coach Curt Hasler, ranked second in the AL with a 3.73 ERA and topped the AL with 1,588 strikeouts.
“We threw the ball really well,” Lynn said. “We’ve got things that we can improve on, [just] like everybody. … As a group, we’ve got a lot more in the tank. I think we’re kind of scratching the surface. Ethan and the coaching staff were able to implement a lot of things this year that we were able to take off and run with, and we’re looking forward to another year and another opportunity to make sure that we even improve more going into next year.”