The Dodgers acquired Lance Lynn near the trade deadline in July to eat innings for a depleted starting rotation. But on Friday, the team decided the price to continue said partnership was too steep. The Dodgers declined Lynn’s $18 million club option for 2024, instead paying the right-hander a $1 million buyout, per both Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic and Jon Heyman at the New York Post.
Lynn, who turns 37 in May, is now a free agent.
When the Dodgers acquired Lynn and reliever Joe Kelly from the White Sox on July 28, Lynn had a 6.47 ERA but Los Angeles desperately needed innings from its depleted rotation, and Lynn averaged 5.7 innings with Chicago. Lynn with the Dodgers did what was asked, with a 4.36 ERA in 64 innings, the latter second only to Bobby Miller on the team. Lynn averaged 5.82 innings in his 11 starts, of which the Dodgers won nine.
Lynn allowed 16 home runs in his regular season starts with the Dodgers, giving him a whopping 44 homers allowed on the season, tied for the sixth-most in one season in major league history.
Home runs proved Lynn’s undoing in his start in Game 3 of the NLDS, during which he authored the first four-homer inning in MLB postseason history as the Dodgers season came to a crashing halt.
For Lynn’s services — in addition to pitchers Nick Nastrini and Jordan Leasure, plus outfielder Trayce Thompson, who were traded to the White Sox for Lynn and Kelly — the Dodgers paid about $6.47 million, the amount remaining on Lynn’s $18.5 million salary for 2023.
With Lynn’s departure coupled with the uncertainty of free agent Clayton Kershaw’s future, especially so after shoulder surgery, the Dodgers begin the offseason with a starting rotation of Walker Buehler, who is returning after missing a year and a half after his second Tommy John surgery, and a slew of young pitchers, including Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot, Emmet Sheehan, Gavin Stone, Michael Grove, and Kyle Hurt.
The need for starting pitching is obvious, as was not wanting to pay Lynn $18 million to return.