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Dodgers trade for Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly from the White Sox

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Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

It’s been a busy week for 2020 Dodgers getting traded. The latest is Joe Kelly, who is returning to Los Angeles along with starting pitcher Lance Lynn in a trade with the White Sox, the teams announced Friday.

First to report the trade were Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Fabian Ardaya at the The Athletic, and Ken Rosenthal at the Athletic.

Trayce Thompson, Nick Nastrini, and Jordan Leasure were sent to Chicago in the trade.

Lynn has been terrible this season, with a 6.47 ERA in 21 starts, leading the majors in both earned runs (86) and home runs (28) allowed. His expected ERA is 4.82, which is better but by no means good.

But “good” is a relative term, and for this year’s Dodgers their starters outside of Clayton Kershaw have mostly been not so. The current rotation includes a nightmare walk year by Julio Urías (4.98 ERA, 4.14 xERA), a decidedly so-so Tony Gonsolin (4.25, 4.82 xERA), plus rookies (4.28 ERA, 3.81 xERA), Emmet Sheehan (6.75 ERA, 4.03 xERA), and Michael Grove (6.19 ERA, 4.98 xERA).

“For me personally, I’m in a good spot as to where I might land. Of the four teams that are in on me, every one of them are in first place,” Lynn said in an interview on Foul Territory on Thursday. “There are some people out there who think I can get it done, I know I can get it done. I’m just looking forward to a chance to make a run, and have a little different perspective here down the stretch.”

Much like the acquisitions of Kiké Hernández and Amed Rosario, the Dodgers trading for Lynn was picking up someone in a down year in hopes they might revert to established norms. For Lynn, that would be his 3.42 ERA from 2019-22, ranking 7th in the majors in fWAR (14.2) over those four seasons, and tied for 11th in strikeouts (635).

Lynn is making $18.5 million this season, which means about $6.56 million remaining. He also has a 2024 team option worth $18 million, with a $1 million buyout.

Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic reported on Monday the 10 teams listed in Lynn’s limited no-trade clause, which includes the Dodgers. Lynn in his Foul Territory interview Thursday explained that the list of teams was about leverage.

“The original thought was picking teams that I thought could be in things, so you could have a little bit of — maybe say, ‘Hey, what’s that option look like? What does another year look like?’” he explained. “Just so you can have those conversations to see what they think about you, where they’re headed, and stuff like that, before you okay a place to go.”

Kelly has a 4.97 ERA and 3.23 xERA in 31 games with Chicago this season, with 41 strikeouts and 12 walks in 29 innings. The 32-percent strikeout rate is the highest of his career.

He’s missed time this season on the injured list with a right groin strain in April and right elbow inflammation in July. Both IL stints were near-minimum stays. Kelly has pitched twice since getting activated last Saturday, striking out three in a scoreless inning on Sunday, then walking two batters and hitting another on Wednesday. He recorded a strikeout of his only other batter faced, but a wild pitch also allowed that batter to reach.

Kelly is making $9 million in the final season of a two-year contract, with about $3.2 million remaining, plus a 2024 team option worth $9.5 million with a $1 million buyout.

This marks a return to Los Angeles for Kelly, who went to Corona High School and pitched for UC Riverside. In three years with the Dodgers from 2019-21, the right-hander had a 3.59 ERA and 3.46 FIP in 105⅓ innings, with 121 strikeouts and 44 walks.

Kelly also got a mural of him painted in Los Angeles.