News broke late Monday night that the Rangers had traded Lance Lynn to the Chicago White Sox for pitchers Dane Dunning and Avery Weems. The move continues Texas’ commitment the last few months to REALLY rebuilding after only softly dipping their toes into those waters the last two or three seasons.
Let’s give a round of applause for Lance Lynn
When Lynn signed with Texas in December 2018, it seemed like just a solid move to add a guy who could eat up some innings in the middle of the rotation over the long summers that would be ahead for the mediocre Rangers. Instead, they acquired someone who has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball over the last two seasons and were only paying him about $10 million a year to do it. It was a heck of a deal for a guy who finished fifth and sixth in Cy Young Award voting in the two years he was here. Dallas Kecuchel, the guy who finished fifth in Cy Young voting this year and Lance’s new teammate with the White Sox, was signed for $18 million in 2020.
Lynn really was a sight to behold on the mound. His no-nonsense style of just repeatedly relying on well-placed fastballs was fun to watch as a fan because he didn’t walk a ton of people and you could always count on him to go at least six innings. The game just moved faster with him with the ball in his hands.
Chris Young has wasted no time getting started as the new general manager
The Rangers probably had just wrapped up introducing Chris Young during a press conference on Monday when he got on the phone and started to finalize this deal. Jon Daniels received a lot of flack for not moving Lynn at the trade deadline a few months ago and rightfully so. Lynn was having an incredible season at that point that would’ve surely earned him an All-Star nod if the game was played and the Rangers were in the midst of a terrible season. Now Lynn is dealt in the offseason where at least the team will have a spring training to figure out how to lay out the rotation with its ace now gone.
It would be interesting to know if this trade was something Daniels had already been working on or discussing before the team announced Young’s hiring last Friday afternoon. Or is it possible this was already Young just putting his foot down and saying, “Look, we have to deal this guy now before something happens to diminish his value completely.” Either way, it sure happened quickly after adding a new voice to the front office.
The Rangers rotation is in pure development mode
It was seriously just like five months ago that a lot of people were discussing how a Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles rotation had the potential to be the best one in Rangers history. Well, now just Lyles and Gibson remain. While there’s a possibility that Kluber comes back on a smaller deal than the $18 million option the team declined, it’s now clear that he’s not going to be someone you can count on for 200 innings or anything like that.
What’s left of the Texas rotation is two veterans in Gibson and Lyles who both struggled in the abbreviated 2020 season. Lyles was just flat out bad as a starter and even got moved to roles like the long-man or having an “opener” in front of him. Gibson was just so… not good… that he seemed like the kind of guy that would fit in perfectly to one of the Rangers rotations of the early to mid-2000s teams. What’s going to be after those two guys? A lot of youth.
Dane Dunning, the 25-year-old Texas received for Lynn and who was the number four prospect in the Chicago system, certainly seems to be ready to slip into the Texas rotation right away. At just 25, he’s still young and under team control for years to come. He started seven games for the White Sox in 2020 and wasn’t bad at all, so that’s certainly encouraging if you’re at least looking for some reason to be interested in the 2021 Rangers.
Avery Weems, the other prospect Texas received, is 23 and was a sixth round draft pick in 2019. He has not pitched at even the single A level yet, but of course the pandemic has a bit to do with that in the year 2020.
With the Winter Meetings ongoing, it’s possible the Rangers will make some more moves, but it’s likely this is their most significant move of the week due to their unlikeliness to spend major money on a rebuilding squad.
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