Well, as usual, it takes a disagreement to get me to write something. Not a heated disagreement, but I don’t necessarily like hashing these long discussions out on Twitter because it’s very quick and lots of people can jump in very quickly, and also because 140 characters aren’t enough for someone like me that routinely has 2000 words or more to say on a subject.
It was announced today that Lance Lynn has signed a deal for 3 years and $22 million. I am very, very weary of the deal. I have not been a fan of Lance Lynn in the past, and I have been pretty vocal about it. Until the second half of his 2014 season, I didn’t think he was really worth much at all. Many people talk about his wins, but if you want me to talk about how little wins mean, then I will, but let’s just assume that I think wins don’t account for much.
Many people put alot of value on his innings, and I do like a guy who can get innings as much as the next guy, but I’d take quality innings over non-quality innings. There was his near-4 ERA. I guess I can’t technically call it a 4 ERA, but 3.97 is about as close as you can get. If you were to ask Fangraphs, a 4.00 ERA is “average”. I’d say it sorta depends on what you’re looking at, but Lynn’s 3.97 in 2013 was 58th of 79 qualified pitchers. That’s not exactly right in the middle.
The reason I note quality innings was because of something I wrote back on May 14th, 2014. When I was talking about Lynn, I said: “Since 2012, if you look at everybody who has pitched in a Cardinal uniform, and you eliminate the guys who have less than 5 starts (Carpenter 3, Gast 3, Martinez 1), then Lynn has the third lowest percentage of quality starts. Lyons is 5/12 (41.7%), Miller is 17/40 (42.5%) and Lynn is 39/71 (54.9%). That said, Lynn is really close to a few others, notably Kelly (55.9%), Westbrook (55.3%), and Garcia (55.2%).” Other than Miller, who the Cardinals did trade, all of the other guys are persona-non-grata among most of the Cardinals fans.
Then, he had a good 3-4 months, and I appreciated that. I just don’t know if you can stake a whole 3 year contract on what essentially was one great year at best, and I do think that they overpaid him somewhat significantly.
Last year, two notable pitchers in their first year of arbitration (just like Lynn was this year) both signed long term contracts to buy out their arbitration years. Madison Bumgarner signed a deal for 5 years – $35 million and Chris Sale got a deal for 5 years – $32.5 million. Those are close to the average yearly value as Lynn’s deal, but both are lower, and if you look at the pitchers named, Lynn is by far the worst of the bunch. I think a good deal for Lynn would have been about $15 million. $4 mil for 2015, $5 for 2016, and $6 for 2017. You could maybe add $1-2 million to that, but anything over $18 million ($4-$6-$8) is more than I would have paid.
Mo knows what he’s doing, and he’s been great, so I’m not questioning the deal, only the amount. If Lynn can keep up what he was doing for the last few months, it’ll turn out to be a good deal. If he reverts back, not so much. I’m not sold that his 2014 is going to be how good he is going forward. It may turn out that it is or it may turn out that 2014 was his best year and he’ll never hit that again in his career. That’s the risk inherent in any contract, but we’ll just have to monitor the progress going forward.
If you want other peoples’ perspectives on it, you can check Bill Ivie’s on I70 and (this was written before the contract actually came out as he missed it by a day) Bob Netherton’s view on On the Outside Corner.