Even after Lance Lynn’s transcendent first half, ending in an All-Star selection and appearance, some White Sox fans (don’t look too hard at the byline, please) would not have been happy with swapping Dane Dunning and Avery Weems to Texas for the burly righty without a contract extension.
The White Sox smartly anticipated those grumblings, tapping into the terrific fit Lynn has been in the Chicago rotation and rewarding his on-field excellence with a two-year, $38 million extension. A club option for 2024 would cost the club $18 million, or it can chose to release Lynn for $1 million (making Lynn’s total guarantee over two years $39 million).
It’s a terrific move, and frankly unanticipated, as Lynn likely could have struck a deal somewhere after this season for at least three guaranteed years and likely more money. But the veteran has loved his fit with the White Sox, and a career-best first half bears out his happiness. A win-win deal for both sides.
In the latest surplus value survey coming out tomorrow, Lynn checks in at providing just more than $6 million in value beyond his pay at the halfway mark, so this season’s extra value alone could well pay for half of Lynn’s 2022 monies.
Here’s the full, copyedited White Sox release:
WHITE SOX AND LANCE LYNN AGREE TO TERMS ON TWO-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION WITH CLUB OPTION FOR 2024
CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox and All-Star right-handed pitcher Lance Lynn have agreed to terms on a two-year, $38-million contract extension, which includes a club option for the 2024 season.
Under terms of the extension, Lynn will receive $18.5 million in both 2022 and 2023, with the White Sox holding an $18 million option for 2024 with a $1 million buyout.
Lynn, 34, has gone 9-3 with a 1.99 ERA and 105 strikeouts over 16 starts this season, his first with the Sox after being acquired from Texas on Dec. 8, 2020 in exchange for righthander Dane Dunning and lefty Avery Weems.
Lynn leads the American League with a 1.99 ERA, the lowest mark by a White Sox pitcher in the first half since Wilbur Wood (1.69) in 1971, and ranks among the leaders in opponents average (second, .189), slugging percentage (second, .303), OPS (second, .303), on-base percentage (third, .260), wins (tied for third), home runs per 9.0 IP (seventh, 0.89) and strikeouts per 9.0 IP (eighth, 10.42). He was named to his second AL All-Star team (also 2012), throwing a scoreless inning at the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday in Colorado.
“We are thrilled to be able to keep Lance in a White Sox uniform for the next several seasons,” says Rick Hahn, White Sox senior vice president/general manager. “He very quickly proved himself to be not only an All-Star caliber addition to the front of our rotation but also the positive clubhouse presence that we envisioned at the time of the acquisition. We look forward to Lance continuing to be a big part of what we’re hoping to accomplish not just in 2021 but now beyond.”
Lynn has gone 113-74 with a 3.48 ERA and 1,520 strikeouts in 276 career games (252 starts) over 11 major league seasons with St. Louis (2011-17), Minnesota (2018), the Yankees (2018), Texas (2019-20) and the White Sox.
Since the start of the 2019 season, Lynn ranks among the AL leaders in wins (second, 31), innings pitched (second, 383.0), starts (tied for second, 62), ERA (third, 3.20), strikeouts (fourth, 440), opponents slugging percentage (third, .369), average (fourth, .223), OPS (fourth, .654) and OBP (fourth, .286), strikeouts per 9.0 IP (fourth, 10.34) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (fourth, 3.83). He finished sixth in the AL Cy Young Award voting in 2020 and fifth in 2019.
Lynn has made 26 career postseason appearances (seven starts), going 5-4 with a 4.80 ERA and 52 strikeouts. He pitched for White Sox manager Tony La Russa as a rookie in 2011, when the Cardinals won the World Series.
Speaking to media before Saturday night’s game, Lynn had a typically straightforward answer as to why he bypassed the open market after the season: “There’s a window here to win. I wanted to be here and to be wanted here, it’s an awesome feeling ... There’s no point going into free agency if you know where you want to be.”