The second half of the 2023 season has not started nearly as well as the first half for the Tampa Bay Rays. After entering the All-Star break leading the American League East, they have gone 5-14 in the month of July and relinquished the division lead to the red-hot Baltimore.
A big part of the Rays' issues have been with their pitching staff. Injuries to key Rays pitchers like Shane Baz, Drew Rasmussen, and Jeffrey Springs have left Tampa thin both in their rotation and the bullpen. While Zach Eflin, Shane McClanahan, and Tyler Glasnow have done their jobs, the Rays need to find some productive depth at the trade deadline.
As it turns out, they are already on top of acquiring one very interesting option as Bob Nightengale reported this morning that the White Sox and Rays are in "serious negotiations" on a trade that would send Lance Lynn to Tampa Bay.
Is Lance Lynn a good fit for the Rays?
Lance Lynn's surface numbers this season have been decidedly poor as he has posted a 6.18 ERA in 2023. However, Tampa Bay is very, very good at identifying players that can help them and it is entirely possible they know an adjustment he could make to reclaim his former glory. Additionally, while his production has not been ideal, he is still racking up strikeouts in 2023 as his 10.9 K/9 rate is the highest of his career.
One interesting wrinkle here is that there is a chance that Lynn could be a swing man for the Rays who makes starts when needed, but could also come out of the bullpen and throw multiple innings. Lynn's stuff could play up in relief and the Rays are exactly the type of organization that could be creative enough to try a move like that.
The trick here, of course, is cost. Lynn is making $18.5 million this season with a club option for 2024 at $18 million which is usually well outside the Rays' payroll comfort zone especially for an older arm. However, Tampa has a very strong farm system which could be used to convince Chicago to pay down some of the money owed to Lynn this season.