The Pale Hose had traded for him before the 2021 season, giving up fellow righty Dane Dunning and another prospect to the Texas Rangers.
Lynn, who had signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Rangers before the 2019 campaign, was playing on the last year of that deal.
Now, however, he will be tied to the White Sox for at least two more years.
Chicago extended their ace and signed him on a two-year, $38 million contract with an $18 million club option for 2024.
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.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 17, 2021
Which grade do the White Sox deserve for their most recent move?
An Elite Veteran Arm
Lynn has given the White Sox exactly what they hoped when they moved to bring him to the Windy City: a veteran ace.
Lynn recently turned 34 years old, so he is clearly no spring chicken.
However, this move can benefit both sides, so we will give it a strong ‘A’ grade.
Lynn is typically a mid-3.00s ERA pitcher.
In fact, his career ERA is 3.47, right in line with that.
But this year, he has been huge for the White Sox, with a league-leading 1.94 ERA in 97.2 innings.
He has a 9-3 record in 17 starts, and has shown his dominance by striking out lots of batters.
He currently has 10.04 punchouts per nine frames, while only handing 2.95 walks per nine.
Other run-prevention metrics suggests his true talent is closer to the mid-3.00s ERA, like Fielding Independent Pitching or FIP (3.29), expected FIP (3.98), and SIERA (3.83).
However, even if Lynn is a mid-3.00s pitcher for the duration of his contract as opposed to a sub-2.00s hurler, he will return value for the investment.
FanGraphs calculates each Win Above Replacement (WAR) to be worth a little over $8 million per year, so he would only need to average a little over 2 WAR per campaign to return somewhere close to the investment the team made in him.
He Will Likely Be A Worthy Gamble For The White Sox
As of now, he has already returned around $20 million by virtue of his 2.5 WAR.
If you think about it, Lynn is every bit as good as some of the MLB pitchers making over $25 million or $30 million, so getting him for less than $20 million per year is a coup for Chicago.
Of course, the fact that he is up there in age was likely a factor in negotiations, as the White Sox would have to deal with an eventual decline in performance.
But every side got what it wanted: the White Sox have the long-term assurance that they will have near-ace like performance from Lynn, who is the leader of a phenomenal group formed by Dallas Keuchel, Lucas Giolito, Carlos Rodon, and Dylan Cease.
At the same time, Lynn has some long-term stability, knowing that he will be in Chicago at least through the 2023 season (barring a trade, of course) with another hefty, life-changing pay.
And if he pitches well over the duration of his new deal, the White Sox will definitely exercise their club option in 2024.
He is certainly having a stellar 2021 campaign.
Extending Lance Lynn now before he wins the Cy Young is just genius.
— Andrew Vaughn’s Burner (@BurnerVaughn) July 17, 2021
It’s a win-win situation.