I was all tucked into my Sleep Number bed last night hoping to catch the ass end of the Talking Sopranos podcast before I started sawing logs and low and behold, some twitter scrolling birthed the most fancy news of the 2020 Winter Meetings SZN
My fucking nemesis Jeff Passan had the goods. The White Sox were making what they call out in the twitterverse a “WIN NOW” trade. Lance Lynn is familiar as fuck, lots of us were hollering about a trade for him at the deadline in 2020 when the White Sox were careening towards their first playoff birth in over a decade….and it wasn’t just dumb fans that wanted a Lance Lynn at the trade deadline.
At the deadline, the thought was that Texas was asking for too much in return for Lynn and empirically it would appear that held because he didn’t move at the 2020 trade deadline. Oh well…
Okay, let’s get into the particulars of a Lance Lynn, he’s a 33 year old right handed pitcher, and……wait
6 foot 5, 250 lbs you say?
I believe the 6’5″ part, but the 250 lbs is a little….uhhh
I’ve been doing most of my off-season analysis cramming together the 2019 full season with the 2020 abbreviated season and thanks forFangraphs for making that so damn easy to accomplish, so let’s take a quick snapshot of old Lance.
During the period of 2019-2020 among qualified starting pitchers, you can see Lance Lynn is #5 on this list, which is sorted by fWAR, and he’s #1 in innings pitched (something the White Sox will be desperate for with a bunch of young arms trying to find their way in 2021). Lynn also sports an above average K9 rate, however, he’s been below average in Texas when it comes to ground ball rate. Those extra flyballs tend to not play great in White Sox park, but it’s unclear to me if…..this is a stylist choice given the ballpark he was playing in down in Arlington in 2020 or if this is the Lance Lynn you just get these days. Also, when digging in deeper, Lynn gives up an above average amount of infield fly balls, which is good (not a crush the souls of our opponents amount of infield fly balls like our KING Lucas Giolito, but still good).
Here’s Lynn’s Baseball Savant map for all of yous that love that stuff. Remember RED = GOOOOOOD, BLUE = LESS GOOOOOOD
The Lance Lynn risks are likely….AGE (he’s 33), FLYBALLS (too many at Sox Park) and WEIGHT….fuck that!!
Lynn’s contract situation is very simple, he’s on the final year of his deal, so the White Sox control him for 2021 and he’ll make $8 million.
WHAT DID THE WHITE SOX HAVE TO GIVE UP????
This spectacled KING was going to normalize wearing goggles!!! Oh and he pitched pretty good too. Dunning made his major league debut in 2020 coming off of surgery. He pretty much had us all eating out of the palm of his hand after Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease were, blech and meh. He came up and looked like a real starter. Dunning has been a back end / fringe top 100 prospect in baseball for several years preceding his major league debut. If yous can remember all the way back to the Adam Eaton trade in 2016, he was piece #3 of that deal.
In 2020, for his 7 starts, he was basically league average, which is damn good considering he faded hard in his final 2 starts of the regular season. He had a rough time also in the playoff start he made that most of you will never forget, but all of that stuff is forgivable, the guy was coming off of surgery and performed heroically for our White Sox in a season when they really needed him.
Dane Dunning has less than a year of service time, which means the Rangers will control his rights for 6 more seasons. Actually it could be more than that depending on if they put him in the starting rotation to start 2021 or if they send him to AAA for a little more “seasoning”.
Re-reading that Rosenthal tweet, it says “and a prospect“…hmmm
AVERY WEEMS!!!! He’s our Rollo Tomassi
The fine folks at Baseball Prospectus actually listed Weems as the White Sox #10 Prospect heading into the 2021 season (the article is linked, but it is behind a paywall). The 108ers even spent substantial time talking about an Avery Weems on the 108 podcast, LISTEN HERE. The delio on this kid is he’s got a live arm and dominated the lower minors, then again he’s a college signing, so take that for what it’s worth. He seems like a nice lotteria for the Rangers in this deal. Oh, there is also this….
ALRIGHT BEEFLOAF…..WHAT SAY YOU!?!?!?
I want to attack the analysis portion by giving a few different viewpoints. These will have varying probabilities of being accurate (probably closer to zero than I’d like to think) but hopefully help flush out potential thought processes of the trade.
Our fearless leader Rick Hahn finally sees 2021 as a balls to the wall, fully contending season. He realizes that although he says “sustained success” he knows even the best franchises (with a cheap owner that won’t spend enough to make you more than a midmarket threat) only have a window of say 4-5 years with any group of talent. I’ve written about the various windows of our White Sox and this first window goes through 2023, the one that contains Lucas Giolito, Yasmani Grandal and Dallas Keuchel. Jose Abreu is only here through 2022 and as much as I’d like to assume Andrew Vaughn will become just like Jose Abreu and produce like mufucka, it’s probably not something we should just assume does happen.
So….our GM looked at the marketplace, saw that 2 good starting pitchers had already accepted the qualifying offer. The prize of the free agent starting pitcher class is both extremely expensive (Rick knows Jerry still owns the team) and not always the easiest to get along with. Then he looks at the next tier of starting pitchers and sees that Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton might not be the safest gambles for 180 Innings in 2021.
I don’t think anyone WANTS to trade a Dane Dunning, but these types of trades have to hurt. As Chorizy always says “Think about what the other team might like to receive, when you are constructing a trade”. Does this mean that Ethan Katz believes Dunning was the most expendable of the major league ready starters? Does this mean that to an outside organization that is looking to get “SOMETHING OF VALUE” and not totally whiff a deal for their ace, that Dunning looks most attractive? What does it say about the younger batch of starting pitchers the White Sox have, Kelley, Thompson and Dalquist? Does this mean the White Sox prioritize them over Dunning, even though Dunning is closer to helping now, OR does it mean the suitor just likes Dunning better? I dunno.
One thing I kept seeing on twitter was not liking trading 6 years of Dunning for 1 year of Lynn. Well, you’ll have to get used to that, I suspect most of the remaining contending trades will contain 6-7 years of some young White Sox for 1 or 2 years of some aging player from elsewhere. I don’t know if this will make you feel better or not, but if Lynn really crushes in 2021, the White Sox could attempt to extend him midstream. If Lynn stinks, he can be safely released back into the water, like the catch and release policy at Palmisano Park in Bridgeport.
Rick Hahn LOVES the WINTER MEETINGS as much as Buddy the Elf loves Christmas. It’s where he’s had his most success and has been the two time off-season champ. He almost always makes a trade during this period of time. It’s like how certain animals have mating season…for Hahn, this is fucking trading season (SZN) and he had to get down somewhere, so he chose a mate (a familiar mate if you will) and decided to get down. Since this was virtual, there are far less bodily fluids exchanged, but the end result is the same and a very taxed stork is bringing a 250 lb (yea right) bundle of joy to our doorstep.
These two men, once again took the pen from GM Rick Hahn. As Chorizy noted back in an old 108 podcast, “we’ll have to see who is highest in the pecking order between LaRussa and Hahn going forward”. Now we know, LaRussa wants to get the band back together, gimme LANCE LYNN at any cost!!!! This might seem far fetched to some, and less so to others, but if Adam Wainwright comes walking through that door next, you’ll at least have to think about it.
Regardless of what viewpoint you take, how much you like or don’t like this trade, the 2021 White Sox are a better team today than they were yesterday.