Lance Lynn jaded by free-agency experience

For years here, he beat the other team’s (butt). Lynn was an underappreciated innings-eater. And his earned-run average was 3.38 for his Cardinals career. And there is no bad aberration season on his stats page. Just year after year, firing four-seamers. Then, after a Tommy John year up in flames, he returned to the mound with more flames.

On this day, one year ago, Lynn was 4-1 with a 2.04 ERA. Talk radio talked regularly about the $100 million he’d make. Talk about a curveball.

His frozen winter led to a rushed spring. As we’ve seen with Greg Holland, April hasn’t been kind to this fraternity of guys (haven’t they suffered enough?). In his five April starts, his ERA was 8.37. Not 3.87. It was 8.37.

Source: Benjamin Hochman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

2 comments for “Lance Lynn jaded by free-agency experience

  1. Name
    May 11, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Right now free agency really screws over late bloomers and college players or those that get injured in the minors.

    High schoolers who are drafted at 18 and make it up by ages 21-23 are fine as they hit FA in their age 27-29 and have a chance to get paid. But if a college player is drafted at 22 and are delayed 3 years in the minors, they won’t get to FA until maybe their 31-33 season and in this climate, may only get a modest payday.

    It’s clear the player’s association needs to ask for a reduction in team control in one (or more) of the 3 phases.
    1. Rule 5 eligbility : Right now HSer usually need to be added to the 40 man 4 full years after they are drafted and college players 3 years. Using 2 injured guys as an example, Steven Matz was drafted at 18 yet didn’t need to be added until age 23. For deGrom he was drafted at 22 and the Mets could wait until he was 26. And they did just that for both.

    2. Option years: Great! now the team has added you to the 40 man. But now the team has the option to reduce your service time in up to 3 years at their own discretion. So another injured fellow was Montero, who was added to the 40 man at age 23. The Mets used options on him each of the last 3 years, and he managed to get injured mostly while in the minors, so while being on the 40 man roster for 3 years and 150 days, his service time credit is only 2 years and 68 days, 1.5 years less than his 40 man time. As a result, his FA is also pushed back 1.5 years.

    3. Up to 6.85 years of control in the majors. So technically, players hit FA if they have 6 years of service time. But you don’t get credit for a full season’s time unless you’re on the roster 172 days out of 183, so if you end the season with 5.85 years of service, you’re stuck waiting for FA an extra year, which teams frequently do such as the Cubs with Bryant and Braves with Acuna.

    So add it all up, and theoretically a team can control a player for 4.5 (wait until the last minute to add to 40 man)+2.15(use 2 options year solely in the minors and use the 3rd to delay FA in the 3rd year)+6.85=13.5 years! And someone like Matz is going to get pretty close on that limit. He was drafted in 09 and won’t be a FA until after 2021, so that’s 12.5 years that he’s “stuck” with the Mets.

    Personally, i’d ask for concessions in 2 and 3. I think that once you are added to the 40 man roster, you should start getting service time, even if you are optioned to the minors, especially now that teams are manipulating the roster by heavily using their AAA-MLB shuttle. If #2 is conceded to me, then for #3 i’d ask that FA be granted at 5.25 years. If it isn’t conceded, then i’d want FA to be granted once 5.0 years is hit. Teams could still manipulate service time, but they would be getting 6 or 6.25 years which is closer to the original intent of the 6 year rule.

    • TexasGusCC
      May 19, 2018 at 10:31 am

      Good research Name. Seems like fringe major leaguers like Paul Sewald and Phil Evans will have that route. Players like Matz will not have to worry about the shuttle if they can perform, because they were higher draft picks and teams – and the GMs – want to make themselves look good. However, control is used as a chip in trades, so I don’t think it will go away too easily. Seems like arbitration has helped alleviate some the pay scale discrepancies.

      Going a little off on a tangent, Ron Darling once said that he would be in favor of no contracts and being paid what you’re worth from Day 1 as a way to protect the younger player that is being taken advantage of, because the big splash later isn’t guaranteed. He mention Syndergaard, deGrom, Kris Bryant and some others as examples of a players making peanuts in accordance to their output, while waiting for that free agency clock to strike.

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