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Texas Rangers rumors: J.A. Happ, Lance Lynn on “wish list”

T.R. Sullivan says the Rangers have J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn on their free agent starting pitcher wish list

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

MLB rumors: The Texas Rangers are after Lance Lynn and J.A. Happ, it appears, with T.R. Sullivan saying those two are “on the Rangers free agent wish list,” while also mentioning Charlie Morton as being on the radar.

Lynn is someone I have mentioned before as being someone who the Rangers should be looking at this offseason. Lynn, 31, is a guy who has been an innings-eater in his career before missing the 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery. He had a good-ERA/bad-peripheral season in his return from surgery with the Cardinals in 2017, and ended up being victimized by the bad market for players last offseason, waiting late before signing a one year deal with the Minnesota Twins, for whom he struggled in 20 starts (5.10 ERA/4.72 FIP) before being dealt to the Yankees at the deadline.

Lynn put up a 4.14 ERA in 54 innings in 9 starts and 2 relief appearances for the Yankees, but with a 2.17 FIP, as his K rate went up and his walk and home run rate went down. The consensus seems to be that he’ll max out at a two year deal at probably $10-12 million per year at most, and that’s the sort of deal that the Rangers, who do need to round out their rotation but who probably don’t want to be locking themselves into lock-term commitments right now, should be pursuing. At that price, Lynn can give the Rangers innings, help them if the team surprises and is good, and could be an attractive trade piece if he gets back to his old self.

Happ, 36, has become a hot commodity, turning his career around in 2015 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and being a quality starter since then. Jeff Passan says that Happ has gotten two year deals, but no three year offers yet, which is what he is seeking. Happ is likely going to be more expensive than Lynn, and I don’t think the Rangers would want to go to something like 3 years, $40 million, which is likely what it would cost to get Happ on a three year deal.

Neither Lynn nor Happ have a qualifying offer attached — not that the New York Yankees, who ended the season with each of them on their roster, didn’t necessarily want to offer it, but with each player having been traded mid-season, they were not eligible for a QO, and Lynn couldn’t be offered it again after having received it after 2017. So you aren’t forfeiting a pick for either guy, which fits with the Rangers rebuilding plans, as well.