There is no MLB offseason trade chip more likely to be wearing a new uniform in 2021 than Lance Lynn.
The Texas Rangers appear set to pivot to a rebuild after a disappointing 2020 season that began with legitimate hopes of playoff contention, and the front office has already indicated that payroll will be cut this offseason.
Lynn, 33, is set to earn a modest $9.3 million in the final season of a three-year, $30 million contract that has proved to be a steal. Still, it's enough to make him the fourth-highest-paid player on the Texas roster and an obvious trade candidate.
To that point, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported on Monday that Lynn is indeed already on the trade block.
After finishing fifth in AL Cy Young voting during the first year of that contract, Lynn followed that up with a sixth-place finish in 2020 when he led the majors with 84 innings pitched and posted a 3.32 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and an 89-to-25 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
His age and status as a one-year rental will limit his trade value to a point, but a thin starting pitching market should help drive interest, and a bidding war is not out of the question.
Best guess: He brings back a package devoid of any Top 100-caliber prospects, but one that does include a pair of second-tier prospects who project as solid MLB contributors and a lower-level piece or two with some intriguing upside.
Ahead, we've highlighted eight teams that make the most sense as potential landing spots, built out hypothetical return packages from those teams, and provided full analysis.
Let's start by eliminating some teams from the running.
Why Other Teams Were Not Included
Here's a quick-hit rundown of why the teams not included as potential landing spots were removed from the conversation:
ARI: Rebuilding, non-contender
ATL: Rotation already addressed
BAL: Rebuilding, non-contender
BOS: Unlikely to target short-term assets
CIN: Shopping Sonny Gray
CLE: Cutting costs
COL: Lacking trade assets
DET: Rebuilding, non-contender
KC: Rebuilding, non-contender
LAD: Already have six starters vying for five spots
MIA: Unlikely to target short-term assets
MIL: Lacking trade assets
MIN: Poor first stint with team
NYM: Focused on free-agent market
OAK: Small-market team, unlikely to move controllable talent
PIT: Rebuilding, non-contender
SF: Unlikely to target short-term assets
SEA: Unlikely to target short-term assets
STL: Focused on upgrading offense
TB: Small-market team, unlikely to move controllable talent
WAS: More pressing needs