A Lance Lynn trade by the Texas Rangers in August, 2020, seemed likely — inevitable, really — and the Chicago White Sox, who reportedly have reached a deal with Texas to acquire Lynn for pitchers Dane Dunning and Avery Weems, were considered one of the top potential landing places.
Lynn was not traded at the deadline, however, a move that resulted in much criticism of the Rangers and their front office. The team said at the time the right deal wasn’t there for them to pull the trigger.
Ken Rosenthal is reporting, however, that there was also another factor at play — namely, that Lynn had told the Rangers he would opt out of the remainder of the 2020 season “if he was sent to a team he did not wish to join.” That gave Lynn a de facto no-trade clause, since a team wouldn’t trade for Lynn unless they had assurances he would not exercise his right to opt out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rosenthal cites “major-league sources” for this news, and my assumption is that those major league sources are in Arlington, given that folks in the front office would seem to have a high motivation to get an explanation for not moving Lynn out to the public. And Rosenthal does not go into any details in regards to who Lynn would have approved a trade to, or whether there was a deal out there that the Rangers would have pulled the trigger on but for Lynn not wanting to go there.
That said, this tidbit does provide some additional clarity into the Rangers’ decision to hold on to Lynn, and given the return they have gotten in this deal, it doesn’t appear that holding him resulted in a lesser return. It is a reminder, though, that there are often factors at play behind the scenes that impact what is happening and decisions that are made.