For all the LA Dodgers fans out there in favor of exercising Lance Lynn's $18 million team option, citing it was a "bargain" for one year in 2024, you were wrong. We're sorry we have to report that. But he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday for far cheaper.
Lynn went back to the team that drafted him on a one-year, $10 million contract with incentives. Best-case scenario for Lynn? It's a two-year, $26 million deal. Round of applause for the Dodgers after swiftly rejecting that $18 million commitment.
And a second round of applause for the Dodgers and Andrew Friedman for not revisiting talks with Lynn after the fact. In recent years, LA has been suckered into paying a cheaper price for depreciated assets with a high upside. We've gone over it many times on this site.
Though they didn't non-tender anybody, the Dodgers rejected team options on Joe Kelly (injured), Daniel Hudson (injured), Alex Reyes (injured) and Lynn (no longer effective) and saved a bunch of money. And they haven't attempted to re-sign any of them, which is perhaps a message that they're onto bigger and better things.
Making Lynn the Cardinals' problem is the biggest sign of growth for the front office because the Dodgers' most important need is starting pitching. This tells us they're confident finding it elsewhere.
Dodgers letting Lance Lynn become Cardinals' problem is sign of growth
This is a positive to take away even after the Dodgers missed out on Aaron Nola. Per reports, LA offered Nola $165 million but he returned to Philly for $172 million. That lack of aggression in free agency isn't going to cut it for a prestigious franchise like the Dodgers, but at least they're not making micro- or mid-level purchases and having the investments totally wasted.
We wondered if the bid on Nola was a way for the Dodgers to gauge the starting pitching market with other stars out there, like Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery and Sonny Gray (yes, Shohei Ohtani too, but his inclusion is inherent, plus he can't pitch until 2025). If that's the case, then great, the Dodgers got their feet wet. If that's how they're gong to conduct business, however? They won't land a single top pitcher.
That's a discussion for another time, though. Rejecting Lynn's team option was the first step. The second step? Not trying to convince him to come back on a cheaper deal. There's some value in Lynn returning as a back-end starter, but that's not where the Dodgers' focus needed to be.
Plus, the vibes were bad. He straight up eliminated them from the postseason. Lynn might be a fiery and accomplished veteran, but the Dodgers need to continue cleaning out any trace of playoff failures -- at least the ones they're in control of.
Let the Cardinals keep spinning their wheels. They've got nothing to show for since 2013 and have only gone backwards since. Lynn gives them depth and nothing else. This just leaves more winning moves for the Dodgers to (hopefully) clean up on.