The White Sox have acquired right-hander Lance Lynn from the Rangers in exchange for right-hander Dane Dunning and left-handed pitching prospect Avery Weems, as the New York Post’s Joel Sherman first reported late Monday night. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report Weems’ presence in the trade:
Left-hander Avery Weems is the other prospect the White Sox are trading for Lance Lynn with righty Dane Dunning, source tells The Athletic. Weems, 23, was the White Sox’s sixth-round pick out of the University of Arizona in 2019.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 8, 2020
Lynn, 33, has been absolutely stellar since joining the Rangers prior to the 2019 season. Over two seasons with Texas, he had a combined 3.57 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP, 335 strikeouts, and 84 walks over 292.1 innings. He led the majors with 84 innings pitched in 2020 and tied with three other pitchers for the major-league lead with 13 starts. His durability could be highly beneficial in 2021, as most starters figure to be behind the 8-ball from a conditioning standpoint after taking part in an abbreviated 60-game season this year.
Lynn will combine with Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel to form arguably the majors’ best 1-2-3 starting pitching punch, and his presence could put the White Sox over the hump as they look to win the AL Central in 2021. He’ll reunite with Tony La Russa, his manager when he broke into the majors with the Cardinals in 2011.
While it’s to be expected since they acquired an affordable elite starter (Lynn is set to make $9.33 million in 2021), the White Sox gave up an extremely intriguing arm in Dunning. While Dunning had mixed results over the first seven starts of his big-league career in 2020, the 2016 first-rounder delivered a few gems, creating reason to believe he can be a front-of-the-rotation starter at some point. After struggling in his big-league debut on August 19, Dunning threw five no-hit innings against the Royals on August 30. He also had a pair of inspiring starts in September, allowing three hits over six shutout innings against the Pirates on September 9, then giving up two runs (one earned) over seven strong innings against the Twins on September 15. He finished with rather impressive numbers as a rookie: a 3.97 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP, 35 strikeouts, and 13 walks over 34 innings. This is the second time Dunning has been involved in a major deal — he was dealt along with Giolito and Reynaldo López in the trade that brought Adam Eaton to the Nationals in December 2016.
The White Sox selected Weems out of Arizona in the sixth round of the 2019 draft. Over 14 starts between the AZL White Sox and the Great Falls Voyagers of the Pioneer League in 2019, he posted ridiculous numbers, finishing with a 2.09 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP with 74 strikeouts and 10 walks in 60.1 innings. He was not ranked among Chicago’s top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline and was not part of the club’s alternate site camp in 2020.