Off The Bench: Is Lance Lynn Good?
The St. Louis Cardinals yesterday offered starting pitcher Lance Lynn a $17.4 million qualifying offer as he enters free agency. That means that the Cards are willing to pay Lynn that much to play for them next year.
Honestly, both Sean and Max were totally flabbergasted at that. Lance Lynn? $17.4 million? What!?
That’s crazy money for a mid-rotation starter who doesn’t get a single fan excited when they see he’s pitching that day. But then, we dove into his stats and were left with this all-consuming, possibly unanswerable question: Is Lance Lynn good? And, less important for us but certainly of great consequence of the team from St. Louis, is he worth more than $17 million or 1 year?
No? I’m not sure. Honestly, when I think of Lance Lynn I think of a pretty generic righty with a straight fastball who’s always good enough to make my fantasy team but never good enough for anyone to try to trade for him. I know he missed all of 2016 with Tommy John surgery but that’s kind of all I got. At first blush, no chance he’s worth a QO.
But! Then I looked at his B-Ref page. He has a 3.38 career ERA, which was raised by the 3.43 he posted in his first post-TJ season, and we know those can be rough. He was, on the surface at least, dominant in 2014 and 2015 with a sub-3 ERA in 2014 and a 3.03 ERA in 2015. His consistent 1.2ish WHIPs concern me though.
Sean, is Lance Lynn good?
I thought you nailed it earlier when you texted me that you nearly lept from your standing desk when the QO news was pushed to your phone. I was right there with you. There’s the first blush reaction – no chance. There’s the ERA and other stats, which are sealed onto his baseball card forever. Then, there’s the fact that the Cardinals rarely misstep and so he has to be worth it.
But I tend to side with my gut. And my gut is somehow telling me that Alex Cobb is worth $100M but that Lance Lynn, basically the same pitcher, isn’t worth $17M. I’ll hit you with two links from our archives. 1) your post from 2013 when Lynn pitched in the playoffs over Shelby Miller 2) My post from January when I noted that Lynn was one of 18 pitchers since 2013 with at least 490 IP and a sub 3.26 ERA. Also related, this is our 11th post that at least mentions Lynn, but first with him in the title. Did I just contradict myself in the same paragraph?