Philadelphia Phillies should not sign free agent Lance Lynn


The Philadelphia Phillies need experienced starting pitchers and free agent Lance Lynn is one possible target. The match looks simple enough, but it’s not a very good fit for either side.

Are the Philadelphia Phillies ready to begin spending money on free agents and making trades for expensive players? If so, free agent pitcher Lance Lynn is one player some expect them to target.

Next year is Lynn’s age 31 campaign. This is about as good of a match as the Phillies can find in free agency. He’s not too old where they will pay him for useless years at the end. He’s also not young enough where they are forced to break the bank in order to bring him to town.

During his six seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Lynn went 72-47 with a 3.38 ERA. These impressive numbers will certainly help his free agent case. It may also cost a little more than the Phillies are willing to spend.

Financial problems aside, there’s something else Phillies’ fans should worry about with Lynn. It’s the home run ball.

Before missing all of 2016 due to injury, Lynn kept the ball in the yard. He never finished a season with more than one home run per nine. His career-high was 16 which he allowed back in 2012 during his first big league season. Lynn made up for that by winning 18 games for the Cardinals.

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Lynn’s home runs per nine statistics dropped over the next several seasons. Then, in 2017, it took a major leap. Lynn allowed 1.3 home runs per nine during this most recent season. The 27 surrendered more than doubled what he gave up in 2014 and 2015 combined.

To Lynn’s defense, home runs were at an all-time high in 2017. Just about everyone was hitting them and pitchers suffered because of it. However, the number doubled. This is frightening for any team, especially one playing in a hitter’s ballpark.

Another disadvantage of signing Lynn is he does give up a lot of walks. Along with the home runs increasing this past season, Lynn’s walk total was at an all-time high at 3.8 per nine. Though he managed to escape the year with a 3.43 ERA, things could have gone a lot worse. Walks hurt. The home run following them kills.

The alternative to Lynn as an affordable yet talented pitcher is Alex Cobb. Like Lynn, Cobb is a Tommy John surgery alum. Cobb might be an even worse choice for Philadelphia due to his poor health history. Since debuting in 2011, Cobb has never finished a year with 30 starts.

The Phillies aren’t looking for their ace yet. Right now, they just need someone to aid Aaron Nola in snapping losing streaks. Lynn is definitely a good choice, but it’s still a year too early for them to add one starter without a full arsenal behind him.

Next: Marlins season review, offseason preview

The 2018 season feels like it will be another year of adding players looking to rebound. Rather than committing to Lynn for long, the Phillies would benefit from either going after the postseason in full force or settling for cheaper choices. Since they are unlikely to do the former, it’s better to let Lynn sign elsewhere.