MLB Trade Rumors: Lance Lynn is “increasingly likely” to be dealt by the August 31, 2020, MLB trade deadline, according to Jon Morosi on Twitter. Evan Grant previously identified the San Diego Padres, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Chicago White Sox, the New York Mets, and the Los Angeles Dodgers as teams that that have “check[ed] in” on Lynn. Jon Morosi says that the White Sox and the Minnesota Twins “have been engaged” with Texas on a potential Lynn deal over the past day or two.
Lynn is arguably the most attractive starting pitcher available at the deadline, as the 33 year old has put up a 3.33 ERA and a 3.21 FIP in 259.2 IP over 41 starts dating back to the start of last season, good for a 9.6 bWAR over that time. Lynn is also durable, has made at least 100 pitches in every start except two since coming to Texas (going 79 pitches on 4/23/19 and 91 pitches in 7 innings in a 5/16/19 blowout of Kansas City), and is under contract for just $8 million for 2021.
In a normal season, Lynn would be expected to bring back a very large return at the trade deadline, as a team would be getting a legitimate top of the rotation starter for the stretch run plus all of the following year for a relatively small financial commitment. The state of MLB in the time of COVID-19, however, makes the trade market much more uncertain than in years past.
On the flip side, the expanded playoffs mean more teams will make the playoffs, and instead of only three division winners being guaranteed an actual playoff series, while the #4 and #5 seeds play a one game Wild Card, as in a normal season, the top eight teams in each league are guaranteed at least a best of three opening round series. That makes Lynn more attractive to a team that may not feel good about its chances of winning the division, and that normally wouldn’t want to expend significant assets for a chance at a one game playoff.