The Texas Rangers are not likely to be a playoff contender in the 2021 Major League Baseball season and with top pitcher Lance Lynn on the final year of his contract, expect the Rangers to trade Lynn before spring training rolls around.
Rangers Likely To Trade Lance Lynn | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis
The last-place Rangers posted the second-worst record in the Majors, their fourth straight losing year. They scored the second-fewest runs per game (3.7) and allowed the fifth-most (5.2). Their farm system doesn’t don’t have a prospect rated higher than 50th overall.
Following a breakout 7.5 bWAR season in 2019, Lynn again posted solid production with a 3.32 ERA across 13 starts totaling a league-leading 84 innings in 2020. Lynn lost about a half mph off his four-seamer, and a career-high 28.1 K% in 2019 fell to 25.9 K% in 2020. That amounts to a difference of roughly 20 strikeouts over a full season. That’s not a worrisome drop in either velocity or K-rate, but it’s still noteworthy for a guy entering his age-34 season.
Lynn’s breakout was sparked by his ability to “tunnel” his pitches, which means throwing two different pitches on the same trajectory long enough that they look nearly identical at the point a hitter needs to make a decision whether to swing or take.
Lynn is scheduled to make a bit more than $9 million in 2021, which is a reasonable price. If the Rangers decide to move him, they’ll look to get pitching prospects in return. If Texas were to keep him, the team can’t even issue him a qualifying offer in hopes of collecting draft-pick compensation following next season. That’s because the Cardinals already did that after 2017, and players can only be given the offer once.
The New York Yankees have often been mentioned as a potential trade partner as they badly need starting pitching. Lynn pitched for the Yankees back in 2018 before moving to Texas via free agency.
Opening Day TV Schedule Released
All 30 teams are set to open the 2021 season on April 1, and ESPN already has announced which games it will show that day – again, assuming the season does start on time. The coronavirus may now allow that to happen.
The first game ESPN will show is the Toronto Blue Jays visiting the New York Yankees (1 p.m. ET), followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers-Colorado Rockies game (4 p.m.). Of course, the Dodgers are defending world champions and favorites at Mybookie.ag to repeat.
The New York Mets, under new owner Steve Cohen, will travel to take on the Washington Nationals (7 p.m. ET), and the day will be capped by the Houston Astros visiting the Oakland Athletics (10 p.m. ET).
Cubs To Trade Kris Bryant?
The Chicago Cubs reportedly are considering trading former NL MVP Kris Bryant this offseason rather than pay him north of $20 million next season. Bryant would be set for free agency after the 2021 campaign. Bryant is coming off a dreadful 2020 season which saw him post just a .644 OPS.
Bryant was an All-Star as recently 2019, when he slashed .282/.382/.521, hitting 31 home runs. Plus, he only played in 34 games during the strange, shortened 2020 season, missing time with elbow, oblique and left wrist/finger ailments. He’s a good bet to bounce back in 2021.
The Washington Nationals have interest. After winning the World Series in 2019, they had a bit of a World Series-winning hangover in 2020. They were one of the league’s most disappointing teams as they came in the last place of the NL East Division. One of the reasons that the Nats struggled was that they no longer had their star hitter, third baseman Anthony Rendon. Washington lost Rendon in free agency when he signed with the Los Angeles Angels last winter.
Last year, Washington ranked 26th in terms of positional fWAR at third base, per FanGraphs. Young prospect Carter Kieboom struggled, and Starlin Castro played just 16 games before being sidelined because of injury.
Bryant is one of multiple Cubs players who could be moved this offseason as the franchise shifts from the Theo Epstein era to a baseball operations department run by general manager Jed Hoyer.
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