Is Lance Lynn going to be traded?
Lance Lynn has no idea.
“I actually know nothing,” he said. “Haven’t been talked to about anything and all that.”
Well, it’s not like he knows nothing. He knows what we know, that trade-deadline rumors have linked him to at least three different potential White Sox trade partners: the Dodgers, Rays and Rangers.
But as for clarification on those rumors, he said he’s received none from the White Sox’ front office.
“Everyone around the league is telling me I’m gone. But I’ve yet to hear anything from anybody here, so you never know,” Lynn said Thursday. “In the past, I’ve had a little bit more communication knowing what’s going on, knowing what might happen.
“I know when you wake up at 8 a.m. and everyone thinks you’ve been traded to three different teams, it’s different. I’m not going to lie, there’s been no communication, nobody told me that anything’s close or anything like that.
“I’ve asked to communicate with everybody. When you play long enough in this game, you just assume that you’re going to be kept in the loop of what things might happen. … I’ve been told, ‘We’ve got nothing for you.’”
That’s one side of the story, of course, but if that is Lynn’s experience, that’s not a great look for the White Sox, who inked Lynn to a contract extension two summers ago after he stepped into a leadership role on the pitching staff.
But as Lynn alluded to, there’s a whole lot of unknown right now when it comes to the team’s next move — or moves — after shipping one-time franchise building blocks Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López to the Angels late Wednesday night.
Lynn’s name popped up plenty of times throughout the day Wednesday, enough so that Pedro Grifol was asked if Lynn was actually going to make his scheduled start against the Cubs just hours before first pitch. He did, and it went quite poorly, Lynn’s MLB-worst ERA ballooning further, to 6.47 after he allowed seven runs in 4.2 innings.
Who knows if a disastrous night on the field will impact what happens off it. In addition to Lynn getting saddled with seven more runs, potential trade pieces Joe Kelly and Keynan Middleton stumbled, as well. Kelly faced four guys in a nightmarish fifth inning and allowed all four to reach, on a dropped third strike, a hit batter and back-to-back bases-loaded walks. Middleton served up back-to-back homers in the eighth inning as the Cubs polished off a two-game sweep.
Still, the White Sox’ collection of arms should continue to feature in those rumors from national-reporter types. Lynn was joined by Kelly, Aaron Bummer and Dylan Cease in being discussed Wednesday.
A day later, the focus was more on the fallout from the trade that did happen. But with five days remaining until Tuesday’s deadline, the expectation is there are more deals to come.
“We’ve been busy. There’s been a lot of calls,” Rick Hahn said Wednesday night. “We’ve been, I’d say, fairly popular based upon the fact that we do have several quality arms, in particular, available, and those are usually what most contenders are looking to acquire this time of year.
“I don’t think, by any stretch, we’re done.”
And so more time in limbo for the players whose names are being bandied about.
“It’s definitely been interesting. We hear all the rumors, we’re not immune to that,” Cease told CHGO on Wednesday. “It’s a business, so I get it. It all makes sense. I just focus on playing. Either way, I’m going to be OK. And either way, we all are very fortunate and blessed. I don’t let it get me down too much.”
At this point, Cease leaving in a deal would count as a surprise. He’s under club control through the 2025 season, and though he’d probably fetch a significant return package, the White Sox seem set up to be thin on starting pitching as it is heading into 2024, a year in which you’d figure they would attempt to compete, though that conclusion cannot be drawn until the team’s work is done at the deadline.
And so the return Hahn got for Giolito and López might be the high-water mark in that department this summer. Edgar Quero and Ky Bush were the Nos. 2 and 3 prospects in the Angels’ organization, according to MLB.com, which has Quero ranked as the No. 65 prospect in the game. The haul has been lauded since the deal went down, with one national reporter going as far to call it “a coup,” particularly because Giolito and López are both heading to free agency and are simply two-month rentals for the Angels.
Outside of unexpected trades of Cease or a controllable position player like Tim Anderson, Luis Robert Jr. or Eloy Jiménez, packages wouldn’t figure to top that, especially for a struggling pitcher like Lynn or relievers with control past the end of this season like Kelly, Bummer, Middleton and Kendall Graveman. Hopefully that notion serves to properly set fan expectations as Hahn continues to work in the coming days.
But when it comes to guessing what, specifically, will come next, your guess seems to be as good as, well, Lynn’s.
“I actually know nothing.”