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Lance Lynn dealt to White Sox

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Dane Dunning is the centerpiece heading to the Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers v Chicago White Sox
Lance Lynn #35 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Aug. 23, 2019. Teams are wearing special color schemed uniforms with players choosing nicknames to display for Players’ Weekend.
Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Late Monday, Jeff Passan from the “virtual Winter Meetings” reported Lance Lynn heading into the White Sox rotation in exchange for Dane Dunning and Avery Weems.

It’s a rent-a-player deal, as Lynn is a free agent after earning $9.3 million in 2021.

The robust righty had a killer 2020 season, amassing 2.2 bWAR in 13 starts and finishing sixth in Cy Young voting. Lynn put up a potent 7.5 bWAR in 2019, making 33 starts and finishing fifth in the Cy Young tally.

The deal means the three top White Sox starters (Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel and Lynn) all finished in the Top 7 among Cy Young votes in 2020.

“Lance is one of the most proven and dependable starting pitchers in baseball,” says Rick Hahn in the White Sox press release. “He provides us with another power arm and gives us three proven starters at the top of our rotation, while at the same time deepening our rotation and allowing some of our younger pitchers additional time to develop.”

Before Texas, Lynn pitched the first six years of his career in St. Louis, including a rookie season under Tony La Russa in 2011. The righthander split 2018 between the Twins and Yankees before signing his three-year, $30 million deal with Texas.

Dunning was recently unveiled as No. 4 in Baseball America’s most recent Top 10 White Sox list. He had a stellar rookie season in 2020, with a 3.97 ERA/3.99 FIP over seven starts. Baseball-Reference gave him just 0.1 WAR but FanGraphs was more generous, at 0.7.

Four years ago to the day, Dunning was dealt along with Giolito and Reynaldo López from the Washington Nationals for Adam Eaton.

To be sure, this is a high price to pay.

The second prospect in the deal is Avery Weems, a 23-year-old lefty drafted in 2019 who found immediate success in rookie ball, going 5-4 with a 2.09 ERA and 1.044 WHIP for Arizona and Great Falls. Weems, with promise but nothing near a guaranteed pedigree, feels like an appropriate second piece in this win-now deal for the White Sox.

Apparently, Lynn threatened to opt out of the 2020 season if he was traded at the deadline this past summer, which could have complicated a deal to the White Sox then. While Lone Star Ball’s story linked above and appearing on site surmises that the return for Lynn wasn’t affected by Lynn’s threat months ago, to these eyes it sure did; the rumored haul Texas was aiming for then doesn’t match that of last night’s trade.

We’ll have more on the Winter Meetings with stories and podcasts, as the week goes on.