Friday, May 18, 2018

Lance Lynn's long leash

No question: Lance Lynn has had an ugly season so far. The veteran right-hander, whose career worst ERA entering the season was 3.97, has a jumbo-jet sized ERA of 7.47 after eight starts, with 29 walks in 37.1 innings.

The Twins have played 39 games; almost a quarter of the regular season schedule is behind them. How long can they keep rolling Lynn out there?

My guess is Lynn will continue to start until Ervin Santana is deemed ready to pitch. And Santana, who was originally expected to be back by now, hasn't officially started a rehab assignment yet after his finger surgery.

There are other in-house options -- Zack Littell, Aaron Slegers, Aldaberto Mejia and Stephen Gonsalves are all waiting their turn in Triple A Rochester -- but the combination of Lynn's track record, the $12 million invested in him and the notion that Santana's return is imminent (even though it isn't) probably means the Twins will wait to pull Lynn from the rotation.

If you look hard enough at Logan Morrison, the Twins other late free-agent signing, you can see some reason for patience. (LoMo's splits over the last 28 days: .280/.372/.524.) It's much harder to find reason to believe in Lynn's results.

The Twins in Terry Ryan's tenure frequently pulled the plug on failing veterans around this point of the season. I haven't a good read yet on the patience of the Falvine regime, and Ryan's plug-pulling was never with a pitcher who carried the expectations Lynn does. Lynn is certainly becoming a genuine test of their patience.

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