Lance Lynn traded to the White Sox
The “Winter Meetings” began on Monday, and I put that in quotes because it’s a virtual event this year insofar as anything exists at all. And in terms of what we think of when we think of the Winter Meetings — i.e. a flurry of player movement — it doesn’t really seem to be set up for anything different this year. A virtual Winter Meetings is just, like, a normal offseason day from that perspective. Despite that, there were a couple of big trades on Monday.
We’ll start with the second one, which broke just before midnight Eastern. Lance Lynn has been seen as one of the top trade targets among starting pitchers this winter, and the Rangers found the deal they were looking for. Texas sent their righty to the White Sox in exchange for right-handed pitcher Dane Dunning and prospect Avery Weems. Chicago was in contention for the AL Central for all of the shortened 2020 season and did make it to the postseason as a wildcard team. That should only be the start for them, too, as they have an impressive, young core.
Now, they add an outstanding pitcher to their rotation as they look to go deep into the postseason in 2021. Lynn has seen a bit of a resurgence over the last couple of seasons in Texas, pitching to a 140 ERA+ with a 3.43 FIP dating back to the start of 2019. The 34-year-old is due $9.3 million for 2021 and then is eligible for free agency. He joins the top of Chicago’s rotation that already features Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel.
As for the Red Sox, they obviously are in need of starting pitching and Lynn, as mentioned, was one of the best available. That said, I’m not so sure this would have made a ton of sense for them. I love Lynn as a pitcher and am fine with Boston going after one-year pitchers, but I’d prefer that approach in free agency where it just costs money. Dunning is a former first round pick who looked solid in his first taste of the majors in 2020. Let’s say the equivalent (roughly) is Tanner Houck. And for Weems, we can probably use someone like Thad Ward as an equivalent. This is a very rough outline of what a Boston package to match would look like, but I’d prefer to spend money than that on a one-year player in a year where the Red Sox need almost everything to go right to contend.
Angels Trade for Raisel Iglesias
Lynn was the bigger trade, but it wasn’t the only trade that happened on Monday. The first one involved another potential Red Sox target, too, and this one is more regrettable to let pass Boston by. In this deal, the Reds sent closer Raisel Iglesias, along with cash to cover some of his salary, to the Angels in exchange for Noé Ramirez and a player to be named later.
Now, I suppose we can’t judge this trade too harshly without knowing the player to be named later, but it’s hard to see this player being of too high a quality. The only thing I can think of is they don’t want said player to be taken in the Rule 5 Draft and will complete the deal after that, but in that case it can’t be that great of a prospect. Either way, the Angels get one of the better relievers in the game for a small price.
Iglesias, who turns 31 in January, has put up an ERA+ of at least 170 in four of the last five years, and is coming off perhaps the best season of his career (small sample caveat, of course) with a 2.74 ERA (176 ERA+) along with a 1.84 FIP. The righty, like Lynn, is set to hit free agency after this season. The Angels have been trying for years to make the most of having the best baseball player in the world on their roster, but they haven’t been able to get the pitching necessary. There’s still a lot of work for them to do there, but they at least have a great bullpen anchor.
And all it cost them was an old friend of ours in Noé Ramirez. The righty, who turns 31 before the new year, is a former fourth round pick of Boston’s and was picked up by the Angels off waivers in the summer of 2017. He has had a couple of solid seasons for the Angels and so the Reds do get a major-league ready reliever here, but Ramirez is not someone you’re plugging into a late-inning role. This, frankly, is a salary dump for a great closer making under $10 million next season, and with cash coming along. The Red Sox equivalent of Ramirez would probably be Ryan Brasier or maybe even as high as Josh Taylor. However you want to slice it, that’s something they should be all over.