Red Sox: 2 starting pitchers Boston needs to target on the trade market, 1 to avoid

Jun 18, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Lance Lynn (33) throws
Jun 18, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Lance Lynn (33) throws / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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The Red Sox should avoid Lance Lynn at the trade deadline

Look, Lance Lynn has been a very good pitcher for a long time. The guy put up a 4.2 fWAR season in 2021 and was perennially underrated for the better part of a decade for his work with the Cardinals, Rangers, and White Sox. It is very tempting to try and bet on a guy with his level of experience especially since he was pretty good, if unexciting, just last season.

However, Father Time is undefeated and it does seem pretty clear that Lynn is trending in the wrong direction in a number of ways. A cursory look at Lynn's Statcast profile reveals that he still missing bats at a decent rate, but is also giving up hard contact at a greater and greater clip and the expected batting stats against him are climbing at an even more alarming pace.

Moreover, even when you ignore the advanced metrics and go strictly to the bottom line, the results haven't been good in 2023. He has a 6.40 ERA in 16 starts this year and is walking the most batters he has in five seasons. Boston needs some certainty of production with any move they make at starting pitcher and Lynn just isn't that guy.

The Red Sox should target Paul Blackburn at the trade deadline

It wouldn't be a trade deadline target list without at least looking at who the Oakland Athletics may have available given that they seem willing to trade their own mothers if it will bring their payroll down a smidge. Paul Blackburn is an interesting case here as he began the season on the injured list with a torn fingernail, but has since returned and posted a 4.21 ERA in five starts so far.

On the surface, a guy with a 4.21 ERA doesn't seem all that exciting, but a closer look is far more optimistic. His FIP currently sits at a very nice 3.00 and his peripheral stats like average exit velocity, chase rate, hard hit percentage, and barrel percentage are all very good to elite. While he isn't a flamethrower, he throws a ton of strikes and if he weren't on an awful team, his numbers would likely be a lot better.

Another nice thing about Blackburn is that he would come with some extra team control as he isn't set to become a free agent until after the 2025 season. Those extra years of control are going to jack up the price a bit, but this is an Oakland team that has shown a willingness to wheel and deal. Boston has the spare prospects to get this sort of deal done and assuming the actual package isn't too brutal, Boston should jump at the chance to grab Blackburn.

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