The only time Lance Lynn has pitched in the home ballpark of the Texas Rangers was as a rookie in 2011, during the World Series for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Lynn will now go into that stadium's final season in 2019 as a big part of the Texas rotation. He signed a $30 million, three-year contract with the Rangers, who are coming off consecutive losing seasons for the first time since before their back-to-back World Series appearances.
"That was my rookie year, I was just happy to be there. I'm not going to hold it over anybody," Lynn said, recalling that 2011 World Series the Cardinals won in seven games.
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The Rangers introduced Lynn on Tuesday, completing a deal that was reached last week during the winter meetings subject to a successful physical. The 31-year-old righty is 21-18 with a 4.04 ERA in 64 games over the past two seasons since missing all of 2016 following Tommy John surgery.
"I feel strong, and it's been a while since I've felt that way," Lynn said. "I think you say that in the second half of last year. Hopefully, I can keep that going."
Lynn's deal includes a $4 million signing bonus, of which $3 million is payable on June 30 next year and $1 million on Jan. 15, 2020. He has salaries of $8 million in 2019, $10 million in 2020 and $8 million in 2021.
Lynn would get a $100,000 assignment bonus if traded before the end of 2020 to Arizona, Colorado, the Los Angeles Angels or Dodgers, Oakland, San Diego, Seattle or San Francisco. He also has award bonuses.
"We look at his track record. Extremely consistent, durable, winning performer on a major league stage," general manager Jon Daniels said. "A veteran presence that we're excited to add to the ballclub."
He joins a rotation with returning Mike Minor and two veterans coming off Tommy John surgery, Edinson Volquez and Drew Smyly.
Lynn is 82-57 with a 3.57 ERA in 214 games with St. Louis, Minnesota and the New York Yankees since 2011, and has won at least 10 games every year as a regular starter since after his rookie season. After not signing with the Twins until mid-March last year, he was 7-8 with a 5.10 ERA in 20 starts before a trade deadline deal to the Yankees. He went 3-2 with a 4.14 ERA in 11 appearances (nine starts) for New York.
"He was very, very effective in the American League. Very good against right-handers, which our division is chock full of," Daniels aid.
Daniels said the Rangers have been interested in Lynn since he was in college at Ole Miss, and even tried to acquire him from the Cardinals in the summer of his rookie season.
Lynn now can have a more traditional offseason while preparing for spring training. Rangers pitchers and catchers report to Arizona on Feb. 12.
"Just knowing where you are going to be gives you a peace of mind. I am looking forward to that, getting things situated so I don't have to kind of show up on the fly and get ready for season," Lynn said. "I'm really looking forward to that and being a part of something here."
Before the Rangers move into a new stadium in 2020, Lynn will get one season on the mound where he was the winner of Game 3 of the 2011 World Series after he pitched 2 1-3 innings in relief as the Cardinals won 16-7. That was the game when Albert Pujols hit three home runs.
"Somewhere I'm going to be on a stat sheet for that. I'll take that," Lynn said. "Two games later, I was called in to intentionally walk someone. So I've got that going for me, too."