I know what you’re thinking about Lance Lynn. I know, because I’m thinking the same thing.
Lynn’s numbers aren’t that comforting, and I get that. A 5.10 ERA, 4.73 FIP and almost six walks per nine innings doesn’t appear, at face value, to be a move that’s the difference between winning the AL East and taking the Wild Card. The truth is, though, that’s not why Brian Cashman traded for Lynn. His only job with the Yankees, as best as we can tell, is to shore up the positions where one can never have too much depth.
Earlier in the season, the Yankees were surprising a lot of people with how their starting rotation was holding up. The team was rolling five deep, with good depth in the minors should the worst happen. Then, the worst kind of did happen. Jordan Montgomery required Tommy John surgery, Masahiro Tanaka hurt both hamstrings, and Sonny Gray set himself on fire and then jumped in the ocean. He has only just begun to emerge from the waters.
The replacements, the depth the team started with, were no better. Domingo German proved he wasn’t ready for the majors, and now has ulnaritis to boot. Jonathan Loáisiga proved himself to be an interesting piece, but now he’s nursing a bum shoulder. Losing four pitchers to injury in a matter of weeks, coupled with Gray’s ineffectiveness, proves the old adage about never having enough starting pitching.
As for Lynn, he’s come around over the past two months. Like a lot of free agents signed over the winter, his holdout meant he missed extensive amounts of spring training. After getting off to a very rough start in a new league, he’s worked into the sixth inning in seven of his last 12 starts. In 11 of them, he’s gone five innings, with only one meltdown in there. That’s a better run of success than Gray or German had over a similar timespan, and Lynn comes with the bonus of being able to relieve, which is where he’ll start his time in pinstripes.
Insurance is never a fun discussion. Very few people sit around the dinner table engaged in passionate debate about risk pools and hedging. It’s still crucial to personal or professional enterprises, though, and transferring the burden of risk to another party is something to be applauded. That’s all Lance Lynn is, an unexciting yet possibly necessary insurance policy, to help raise the floor of this team just a bit should the worst happen.
And can’t you just see how pumped he is to assume that role.