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The Twins should trade for Lance Lynn

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Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images

Hear me out: the Twins should trade for Lance Lynn. Yes, the same Lance Lynn that pitched (rather poorly) for the team just last year. Why? Because he’s good!

Let’s play a game! We’re going to compare a couple stat lines from this year. One of them will be Lynn’s, and the others will be mystery players. Try to figure out which one belongs to who.

Player A:

ERA: 3.10 WAR: 2.1 SO: 110 IP: 122.0

Player B:

ERA: 3.87 WAR: 4.6 SO: 140 IP: 128.0

Player C:

ERA: 3.86 WAR: 1.0 SO: 121 IP: 116.2

The answers: Player A is our very own Jose Berrios. While his ERA very clearly trumps the other two, his strikeouts don't quite stack up. Player B is Mr. Lynn. He has a far superior WAR and strikeout total to the other two players. Player C is Madison Bumgarner, who many are suggesting the Twins should trade for. His ERA is alright, but his WAR and strikeouts suggest he has not been the pitcher that Lynn has been this year. Furthermore, Lance Lynn’s FIP (fielding-independent pitching) is 2.92. This stat takes into account only the things a pitcher has direct control over- strikeouts, walks, and home runs. So this suggests that he has been a better pitcher than his ERA of 3.87 suggests. He has been fairly unlucky this year, and has still performed well. Madison Bumgarner, on the other hand, has been neither very lucky or very unlucky, as his FIP is in-line with his ERA, sitting at 3.81.

Now, obviously, lots of Twins fans won’t be crazy about trading for a guy that flopped for the team last year. However, I think that we should have some understanding. The Twins signed Lynn late into spring training last year. The same kind of situation occurred with Marwin Gonzalez this year. You’ll recall that Gonzalez got off to a notably slow start this season after missing a large part of spring training. However, Gonzalez has clearly picked up his play as the season has gone on. It follows that Lynn may have suffered from his very abbreviated spring training (he was signed on March 10). Lynn did pitch better after being traded as well. This year, we are seeing what Lynn can do when he isn’t subject to such circumstances.

Lynn is on an affordable contract ($10 m/year), and wouldn’t be a rental (3-year deal). Texas could go either the buyer or seller route, but appear to be going into seller mode. Recently, some rumors have surfaced about Mike Minor, another of their pitchers, being shopped. Let’s not let a bad first impression get in the way of a good next decision. Let’s trade for Lance Lynn.