Lance Lynn Deal A Steal for St. Louis Cardinals?


With a flurry of recent pitching deals anchored by the Rick Porcello‘s 4-year/$82.5 million dollar deal with the Boston Red Sox, is the Lance Lynn deal a steal? Lynn signed a 3-year/$22 million dollar deal this off season with the St. Louis Cardinals to avoid arbitration. We hear it all the time that Lynn is often overlooked as a great pitcher in this league, despite his one All-Star appearance and winning over 63 percent of the games he factors into. Lynn never gets a lot of praise for his ability to be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher, even though he should.

Rick Porcello is 1.5 years younger than Lynn, but he has been in the majors two years longer. Despite five years as a starter, Porcello has only pitched over 200 innings once, which was last year. Lynn has done that twice, both times coming in the past two seasons.

Now this isn’t going to turn into a bashing of Rick Porcello making the best of his service time. His deal allows the Red Sox to keep him from free agency, and for a player who has served five years as a major-leaguer with his track record, he could have been another $100+ million pitcher. This is to show how great the recent deal for Lance Lynn is for the Cardinals.

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In three years as a full-time starter, Lynn has had at least 15 wins in each season, posting a near-3.5o ERA in those years. Also, Lynn has been a vital part of the Cardinals’ National League Championship Series (NLCS) runs, going 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA in four starts and ten total appearances from 2011-2014 during the NLCS.

One other deal that matches Lynn’s deal would be Corey Kluber‘s with the Indians, which pays him $38.5 million over five years. Despite winning the AL Cy Young Award last season in his second year as a full-time starter, Kluber has had three years of service, with only one great season where he finished 18-9, and another season where he went 11-5. It took Kluber a few years to have a breakout year, where it did not for Lynn.

To be fair, Lynn did have issues at the end of his first year as a starter, and he did again early in the next year when he lost over 40 pounds. However, this past season, he was used to his new physique and the dog days of summer, posting his best-ever ERA of 2.74.

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One thing Lynn and Kluber have in common (other than both having 18-win seasons in their careers) is their lack of years of service. Had both served the same amount of time in the big leagues as Porcello, their deals would have been much larger.

So, Cardinal fans, enjoy Lance Lynn. Despite a drop in K/9 each season, Lynn has been at worst a 15-game winner and has never lost more than 10 games. His win percentage has been one of the league’s best as well, with him winning 63% of games he factors into. With the new deal that pays him $7 million a year, he’s still tied for the 65th-most expensive pitcher in baseball. (Click here for payroll list)

The list of some of the starters ahead of him will make Lynn seem like a steal on value alone. However, check his career stats and compare them to other comparable starters. I am not saying Lance Lynn is the next great ace of the league, but he does deserve to be praised for his skill set, as well as his team-friendly deal.

Next: This Day in St. Louis Sports History: April 7