Lance Lynn Traded to Yankees; Twins Receive Tyler Austin, Luis Rijo

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 11: Lance Lynn #31 of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning of the game on July 11, 2018 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Having already acquired J.A. Happ, the New York Yankees bolstered their starting rotation even further on Monday by adding Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Lance Lynn

The Yankees announced they traded first baseman Tyler Austin and minor league starting pitcher Luis Rijo to the Twins in return for Lynn.

Sports Illustrated's Jon Tayler questioned the move from New York's perspective since the team traded right-handed reliever Adam Warren, who essentially occupied the same role Lynn likely will with the pitching staff:

Jon Tayler, Smiling Politely @JATayler

So the Yankees salary-dumped a good reliever/swingman in Adam Warren to get a worse pitcher in Lance Lynn (who hasn't pitched in relief since 2012), and they also gave up cheap 1B/OF depth to do it in Tyler Austin. I can't say that I follow the logic here.

The New York Post's Joel Sherman reported the Yankees at least won't add much money to their payroll by essentially swapping Warren for Lynn:

Joel Sherman @Joelsherman1

Lynn owed about $4.3M. Hear #Twins will pay about $2M of that. Between offset and dealing Warren and $1.18M-ish left on his deal, #Yankees stayed about neutral in salary in this day's work.

Lynn might benefit from a move to the bullpen. In his first two years since undergoing Tommy John surgery, he's 18-16 with a 4.02 ERA and a 4.78 FIP, according to Baseball Reference. However, Lynn hasn't pitched in a relief role since the 2015 postseason, and his last regular-season appearance out of the bullpen was in 2012.

Ultimately, the Yankees may value Lynn's ability to move into the rotation in an emergency over Warren's proven track record as a reliever.

The Twins, meanwhile, get a 26-year-old first baseman who's under team control for four more seasons and a young pitcher who might develop into something down the road. Austin is batting .230 with 15 home runs and 43 RBI in 85 career MLB games, and the 19-year-old Rijo is 4-1 with a 2.77 ERA in seven minor league appearances in 2018.

That's a solid return given both Lynn's performance and the fact he's only a half-season rental.