The Rangers and White Sox reminded everyone that the MLB’s winter meetings are underway by agreeing to a late night trade Monday. Texas will reportedly supply right-hander Lance Lynn to the White Sox in exchange for pitchers Dane Dunning and Avery Weems.
The deal is still pending, according to The Athletic and other outlets. Neither team announced the move early Tuesday.
WINTER MEETING 2020: Five things we want to see
Lynn, 33, will reunite with new White Sox manager Tony La Russa, despite the last time they worked together almost a decade ago. Lynn joined the Cardinals in 2011, La Russa’s final season as manager of St. Louis. He has since grown into an effective innings eater and has played a prominent role for Texas over the past two seasons.
Sporting News rated the trade for both clubs.
White Sox: B +
Chicago is ready to get great value for money with this rental. Lynn will earn $ 30 million ($ 10 million average annual value for luxury tax purposes) in the final season of a three-year contract, according to the baseball prospectus. For the first two years, he beat his deal with an ERA of 3.57 (140 ERA +), a FIP of 3.43, and 10.3 K / 9 in 292 1/3 innings. He led the majors in 2020 with 84 innings in 13 starts (6.46 innings per start).
Lynn gives the Win-Now Sox a Big Three in their rotation with Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel. This group will look ominous on an October streak when they’re all healthy for the postseason. And Lynn has been healthy since returning from surgery on Tommy John in 2015. He made 33, 29, and 33 starts in the past three full seasons and took a regular turn in the 60-game 2020 campaign.
Chicago needs Lynn to be permanent aside from other off-season moves as the current rear end of the rotation has issues. Dylan Cease was inconsistent and Reynaldo Lopez was bad last year. Michael Kopech missed two full seasons after his own TJ operation. Dunning would have been part of filling the puzzle.
Welcome back to Arlington, Chris Young. It is unknown how much the new Texas general manager was involved in this deal, but he only got two pitchers to dream of.
Dunning, who will turn 26 on December 20, made his MLB debut last August and has been uneven over seven starts. The right-handed man managed a 3.97 ERA (3.99 FIP) but stalled in his last two games (eight were earned over seven frames). He “opened” the crucial game 3 of the Wild Card Series in Chicago against the A’s, which only lasted two-thirds of an inning due to an ultra-fast hook by former manager Rick Renteria. The White Sox used nine pitchers in that competition before losing 6-4.
As the Rangers rebuild / payroll picks up pace, Dunning is expected to begin spring training on the rotation mix. Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles are the top two starters in Texas with Lynn in the picture, and then it’s Kolby Allard, Wes Benjamin and Kyle Cody on MLB.com’s depth map.
Weems, 23, is not ready to apply for a job in a big league. He hasn’t put himself above the rookie ball, despite dominating at that level in 2019 after being drafted by the University of Arizona in the sixth round of Chicago. The left-hander averaged 11.0 K / 9 in 60 1/3 innings and scored an ERA of 2.09. Weems wasn’t invited to the White Sox summer camp and wasn’t one of the 30 best prospects according to the MLB Pipeline. (Dunning came fifth.)
Texas could / should have treated Lynn as of the deadline last summer when the teams got an extra month of start from him. It took until December to redeem that large chip for two long-term pieces. The Rangers seem to have made a decent return, but how much better could it have been in August?