The Phillies have been in touch with free-agent right-hander Lance Lynn's camp in recent weeks, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
A deal might be close at the moment, but Philadelphia has been actively monitoring the free-agent market for a starting pitcher this spring with camp already underway in Clearwater, Fla. In the past few weeks the club has also had dialogue with free-agent righty Jake Arrieta. Morosi reports the Phillies have entertained the possibility of signing two of the remaining free-agent starters. While finanicially viable for the Phillies, it remains unlikey.
The Phillies recently named right-hander Aaron Nola their Opening Day starter, but they lack reliable rotation options after him. Jerad Eickhoff had an uneven 2017 season (4.71 ERA), and Vincent Velasquez -- while occasionally dominant -- has struggled to stay on the mound and been inconsistent when healthy, posting a 5.13 ERA in 15 starts last year. Lynn would offer someone with a proven track record to slide in behind Nola.
Lynn went 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 33 starts for the Cardinals last year after missing the entire 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery. The 30-year-old compiled a career record of 72-47 with a 3.38 ERA in 183 appearances (161 starts) in six seasons with St. Louis. -- This report was first posted on Feb. 28.
Yankees intersted in Lynn
The Yankees, looking to add to a rotation that already should stack up as one of the best in the American League, have "maintained contact" with right-hander Lance Lynn since the start of the offseason, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
Morosi speculates the Yankees are in a better position to sign Lynn now than earlier in February, when it seemed like New York might make a run at free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas.
However, acquiring Brandon Drury from the D-backs gives the Yankees a cheaper option at the hot corner while retaining "roughly $25 million in spending power for additional signings, trades and callups" per Morosi, while staying under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold.
New York already has Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray and CC Sabathia slotted into their top four rotation spots, and bringing in Lynn would give the team more time to continue developing promising youngster Jordan Montgomery, who went 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA in 29 starts in 2017.
Morosi expects Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to do one of two things: upgrade at starter now while the asking prices for Lynn, Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb may have lessened, or wait until the non-waiver Trade Deadline to deal for a hurler as the club gears up to make a run at the World Series.
Lynn, 30, is 72-47 with a 3.38 ERA in 183 games (161 starts) across parts of six seasons with the Cardinals. He has exceeded at least 175 innings in each of his past five seasons he's pitched (he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and missed all of 2016).
Redbird return in play?
Lance Lynn has been nothing if not consistent in his six seasons with the Cardinals (he has posted an earned run average at or above the league-adjusted average in five of those campaigns), yet his name remains on the free-agent market.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman speculated in a post for FanRag Sports that the Draft pick that a signing team would have to give up -- on account of the one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer Lynn rejected in November -- might be a sticking point and a reason the right-hander remains unsigned. For that reason, Heyman predicted Thursday that Lynn will eventually winding up re-signing with the Cardinals, with the Brewers, Mets, Phillies and Twins being other clear contenders for his services.
There would appear to be a potential spot on St. Louis' rotation should the Cardinals find a way to sign Lynn. Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright figure to be reliable options, but plenty of question marks accompany Miles Mikolas (returning to the Majors after a three-year stint in Japan) and sophomore righty Luke Weaver. A reliable innings-eater like Lynn would certainly give Cardinals manager Mike Matheny some added peace of mind every fifth day.