While Lance Lynn managed to outperform his peripherals for most of the season (4.82 FIP, 4.75 xFIP), the regression monster finally caught up to him late. The right-hander turned in a sub-3.00 ERA over his first 29 starts, but limped to the finish line with a 9.20 ERA, 2.05 WHIP and 14:10 K:BB over his final four outings. Lynn's first season back from Tommy John surgery has to be considered a success regardless, although he's behind the times in a sense; the league is moving away from the (non-blistering) fastball, and Lynn threw his low-90s fastball 81 percent of the time last season. The lack of faith in his breaking and offspeed pitches puts Lynn in a tough spot in today's game, with so many hitters sitting dead-red on fastballs. Lynn should land a nice contract in free agency this winter, but he will likely be overvalued in fantasy no matter where he ends up as owners chase last season's ratios. Things could get significantly worse.
Lynn declined the Cardinals' qualifying offer prior to Thursday's deadline, Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times reports. Following the rejection of his $17.4 million offer, Lynn will officially become a free agent and is ready to test the open market this winter. The 30-year-old started 33 games for St. Louis this past season, posting a 3.43 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over 186.1 innings.
Lynn was tendered a qualifying offer by the Cardinals prior to Monday's deadline, the Los Angeles Times reports. It's expected that he'll decline the one-year, $17.4 million tender and seek a multi-year contract on the open market in the coming weeks. Lynn pitched well in 2017 after missing all of 2016 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he's fallen short of 200 innings in each of the last four seasons he's pitched. If Lynn enters the market as expected, he'll be doing so following a season that included the lowest strikeout rate (7.4 K/9), highest walk rate (3.8 BB/9), and highest home-run rate (1.30 HR/9) of his career.
Lynn allowed one run on three hits with four walks and five strikeouts over five innings in Thursday's no-decision against the Cubs. Lynn held Chicago off the board after surrendering an Ian Happ home run in the first, but still needed 86 pitches to get through five frames while finishing one walk shy of his season worst. The 30-year-old righty faded down the stretch, failing to pitch more than five innings in any of his final four starts after logging at least six in each of his previous 12 outings and posting quality starts in all but one of those. Lynn did a tremendous job of rebuilding his value heading into free agency after missing all of the 2016 campaign due to Tommy John surgery, finishing with double-digit wins for the fifth time while posting a 3.43 ERA.
Lynn (11-8) took the loss Saturday, giving up eight runs on six hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning against the Pirates. He struck out one batter. This was a disaster, as Lynn only managed two outs on 42 pitches (25 strikes). His season ERA has jumped more than half a run -- from 2.94 to 3.47 -- over his last three starts, and he has just three more strikeouts (16) than walks (13) in five September outings. Fatigue may be a factor, with Lynn now past 180 innings in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. He lines up to face the Cubs at home next week in his final start of the regular season.
Lynn lasted only four innings in Sunday's no-decision at Wrigley Field, allowing three runs on five hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Lynn exited down 3-0, but Dexter Fowler's sixth-inning, three-run homer got him off the hook even though Chicago ultimately triumphed 4-3. While this is the second consecutive start in which Lynn has pitched five or fewer innings while allowing three earned runs, he had been rock-solid with 11 quality starts in his previous 12 outings. Look for him to bounce back on the road Saturday against the light-hitting Pirates.