The New York Yankees are working hard to strengthen their biggest weakness at the trade deadline. On Monday, the team picked up another starting pitcher, acquiring Lance Lynn in a deal with the Minnesota Twins.
In exchange for Lynn, the Yankees will send first baseman Tyler Austin and pitcher Luis Rijo to the Twins.
Yankees acquire Lance Lynn in deal with Twins
The 31-year-old Lynn has a 5.10 ERA over 110 1/3 innings. He’s shown the ability to post strong numbers, but hasn’t had the consistency this season. Lynn has posted ERAs over 6.00 in April and July. Between that, he’s put up a 3.27 ERA over 10 starts in May and June. While his season ERA is high, he can still be a valuable piece for the Yankees in the second half.
The Yankees rotation is the team’s biggest weak spot
With the move, the Yankees have now picked up two starters prior to the trade deadline. Both Lynn and J.A. Happ have been tasked with solidifying the club’s rotation in the second half.
Starting pitching is the only area where the Yankees really need help. The team’s offense ranks as the best in baseball according to wRC+, an advanced stat that measures offensive performance. The team’s 2.88 bullpen ERA is also the best in baseball.
The team’s 4.02 rotation ERA sits at 13th in the majors. That’s not that bad, though it’s the one area where the Yankees aren’t an elite club. While Luis Severino has pitched like an ace, the rest of the rotation has had its ups and downs. CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka have been mostly effective, but Sonny Gray still has an ERA over 5.00.
Even if Lynn doesn’t start, he could still play a big role
The Lynn acquisition puts the Yankees’ rotation in flux. Severino, Sabathia and Tanaka will remain in the rotation, as will the newly-acquired Happ. That leaves Lynn and Gray for the final spot.
Whoever loses that battle could be sent to the bullpen, and Lynn does have some experience as a reliever. He’s posted a 3.16 ERA over 31 1/3 innings of relief over his career. He has not been used in a relief role since 2012, however.
Once the postseason rolls around, it’s also possible Lynn could be used in a hybrid role where he enters games early to relieve a struggling starter. Teams have employed tandem starters in the postseason in recent years.
Lynn may not be a huge name, but the Yankees are only looking for stability. Lynn can provide that, and has a chance to give them more.
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