Lance Lynn always faced an uphill battle to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2024. For one, his $18 million team option wasn't exactly a bargain. Secondly, for him to sustain his pace upon arriving in LA would've been a tall ask, and would've been the only way Andrew Friedman could've been convinced to spend that money.
Per reports, Lynn's team option was declined Friday as the Dodgers got their offseason underway. A reunion is reportely still on the table, but freeing up that $18 million will be key for Andrew Friedman's spending over the next few months.
The Dodgers have far too many needs to restrict themselves or spend irresponsibly. Dumping $18 million into Lynn, who just had a career-worst season, wouldn't have been shrewd considering they need at least three other starters ... plus a couple position players, plus respectable depth.
That's going to cost a considerable amount. Fans wouldn't necessarily oppose a multi-year reunion with Lynn, who clearly has a role to play if utilized correctly, but a hefty investment for a lone season before other pieces fall into place certainly wasn't the right approach.
So far, so good. Friedman is 1-for-1 with his offseason decisions, and took care of Max Muncy. Many more are to follow now that the World Series has concluded and free agents can be signed in just a few days.
Dodgers Rumors: Lance Lynn's 2024 option declined
Lynn made 32 starts last year, which was the first time he reached the 30-start mark since 2019. Problem is, he allowed 44 home runs and walked 68 batters in 183.2 innings between the White Sox and Dodgers.
At the trade deadline, there were rumors teams were eyeing him as a reliver because of his high strikeout numbers, but the Dodgers eventually pulled the trigger to help their ailing rotation. As you can see, that was a terribly flawed decision because the Dodgers, even with a healthy Clayton Kershaw and non-suspended Julio Urías in the picture, still needed far more help than somebody like Lynn.
But now that the offseason's here and options such as Blake Snell, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Aaron Nola, Sonny Gray, Jordan Montgomery and others will be available, there's urgency on the Dodgers' end to make the right signings and trades (Corbin Burnes? Tyler Glasnow?) after they clearly made the incorrect decisions at the deadline each of the last two years.
Lynn could certainly have a place on the 2024 Dodgers, it just won't be as a featured arm in the rotation making Kershaw money. Maybe a two-year, $20 million pact with an understanding he'll be moved around a bit?
Either way, Lynn's return shouldn't be a priority. It should be, at best, a secondary depth move that helps the Dodgers better lay out pitching plans to assist one of the league's best offenses.