This is a deal that makes a lot of sense for the Twins. They are one of the teams that is in the mix for a Wild Card spot, looking like a mid-80 win team, but they have holes in their rotation. Lynn, who turns 31 in May, isn’t a great pitcher — coming off of Tommy John surgery, he put up a 3.43 ERA in 33 starts for the Cardinals last season, but with a 4.82 FIP and peripherals that were worse across the board than pre-surgery -- but he profiles as a nice 2 win innings eater, which is exactly what Minnesota needs right now. The difference between Lynn and their available options represents a significant delta in Minnesota’s playoff chances.
Rangers fans are no doubt asking, why didn’t Texas do this deal? Its a reasonable question, and Lynn could have helped the Rangers in 2018. At the same time, Lynn would be replacing Mike Minor or Doug Fister in the rotation, each of whom is under team control beyond 2018. Texas is also projected as a high-70s win team, meaning the extra win or two Lynn represents over Minor or Fister in the rotation doesn’t enhance the team’s playoff chances nearly as much as it does Minnesota. At the cost of the Rangers’ second round pick and $500,000 in J-2 money for the 2018-19 international signing period, and given the overall makeup of the team, I think passing on Lynn at a $12-14 million price tag isn’t exactly organizational malpractice, though I’m sure there will be those who disagree.
The Lynn deal leaves Alex Cobb and Jake Arrieta as the two prime free agent starters who have draft pick compensation attached still on the market. Cobb and Arrieta are both considered to be better than Lynn, so one would think that if either settles for a one year deal it would be for more than the $12 million guaranteed that Lynn got (and of course, Arrieta is still thought likely to end up with the Washington Nationals).