Right-hander Lance Lynn had the option to wait until the winter to cash in. A pending free agent, Lynn would’ve been one of baseball’s most sought-after starters and could’ve driven up his price tag with a strong second half and a possible deep playoff run.
But Lynn, 34, is in a place he likes, so he didn’t see the need to enter free agency.
“The big thing was knowing where you want to be,” Lynn said. “There’s no point in me going into free agency if you know where you want to be. We were able to talk. We both wanted to make a deal, so when that’s the case, it’s easy. It’s a no-brainer.”
On Saturday, the Sox announced that Lynn signed a two-year extension. The pact is for $38 million, which includes a 2024 club option. Lynn is owed $18.5 million in both 2022 and 2023, and the Sox hold an $18 million option for 2024 with a buyout for $1 million.
Acquired from the Rangers this offseason for pitchers Dane Dunning and Avery Weems, Lynn was named an All-Star and has gone 9-3 with a 1.99 ERA as the rotation has carried the Sox to first place in the American League Central.
With his strong first half and what he means to the staff, Lynn was going to be one of the big offseason priorities for general manager Rick Hahn and the front office.
Now with Lynn in the fold, the Sox have four-fifths of their rotation (plus Michael Kopech) locked up for next year with only Carlos Rodon a pending free agent.
“It’s mutual commitment, mutual promises that you share,” manager Tony La Russa said. “It’s very healthy. It’s a perfect message to send to the players that they recognize that we’re getting closer and closer to being an October club, and Lance will be a part of it.”
Lynn made it clear he wants to be a part of what the Sox are building.
He said he wasn’t surprised an agreement was reached in the middle of the season because both sides were open to the conversation. In fact, Lynn said it was a “very smooth” deal.
Lynn has talked in the past about how snug the fit is for him with the Sox, and he reiterated that Saturday.
“Over the first half of the season, just being able to see how everybody goes about their business here, the group that’s here and the group that’s going to be here for the next couple of years, it seemed like a pretty easy fit,” Lynn said. “And then when you started to play in front of these fans and enjoy it like I’ve been able to enjoy it, it was a no-doubter.
‘‘So we were able to make a deal, and it was the best for both sides, I feel like.”
With his contract out of the way, Lynn has one fewer thing to think about as the Sox gear up for what could be a memorable second half.
“It’s nice not to worry about free agency and know where you are going to be, but also knowing this is where you want to be and this is the group you want to be with to try to achieve something,” Lynn said.
“It’s a good feeling, and I’m really excited about being here for the foreseeable future.”