If it's 1 or 2 years, Phillies should sign Lance Lynn

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If it's 1 or 2 years, Phillies should sign Lance Lynn

It's March 1 and several prominent starting pitchers are still lingering in free agency. Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb — three guys nobody would have guessed would still be out there a handful of games into spring training.

The Phillies have been linked to Arrieta this offseason — more on that here — and on Wednesday night, MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported the Phils and Lynn have been in contact "in recent weeks, although the sides are not close to a deal."

Lynn has been a mid-rotation workhorse for the Cardinals since 2012 when he made the All-Star team in his first full season in the majors. In just under 1,000 career innings, he's 72-47 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings and 3.4 walks.

Is he a fit here? [Insert obligatory sentence about there being no such thing as a bad one-year deal.]

The Phillies did not enter this offseason looking for pitchers on the other side of 30, especially those who have an injury history. Lynn missed all of 2016 after having Tommy John surgery, but he did rebound to have one of his best seasons in 2017. This past season, Lynn was 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA in a league-high 33 starts. He held his opponents to a .203 batting average and .269 on-base percentage. 

In fact, aside from 2016, Lynn has made between 29 and 33 starts each season and exceeded 175 innings in all of them.

Lynn has the classic build of a right-handed workhorse: 6-foot-5, 280 pounds. In many ways, he's the near-best-case scenario for someone like Jerad Eickhoff.

If the Phillies did add Lynn, he'd instantly slot in as their No. 2 starter, and just that one addition of a solid starting pitcher could go a long way in keeping them competitive late into 2018.

The question is obviously how many dollars and years would a team like the Phillies be willing to commit to Lynn? They're not going to give him more than three years, especially with it being a team-friendly market at this point. In terms of annual salary ... the only two starting pitchers all offseason to get a multi-year deal worth more than $10 million per season are Yu Darvish (six years, $126M) and Tyler Chatwood (three years, $38M).

Signing Lynn would cost the Phillies more than just money, though. They would forfeit their third-round draft pick and $500,000 to spend on international free agents if they sign him. They already surrendered their second-round pick to sign Carlos Santana. The reason is that both Santana and Lynn rejected qualifying offers from their former teams at the beginning of the offseason.

Something like two years, $32-36 million might get it done with Lynn. Long-term financial security is what almost all athletes seek, especially pitchers with serious injuries behind them. That's why we cannot discount a one-year deal, either, as it would allow him to maintain or build more value while hitting free agency again next year when he's nearing 32.

Whether or not the Philles end up with Lynn — or Arrieta for that matter — the market has certainly come to them.

Jet belonging to Phillies owner John Middleton is in Bryce Harper's hometown of Las Vegas

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Jet belonging to Phillies owner John Middleton is in Bryce Harper's hometown of Las Vegas

CLEARWATER, Fla. — John Middleton’s private jet is on the ground in Las Vegas, a person in that city told NBC Sports Philadelphia on Friday night.

Las Vegas is the hometown of free-agent slugger Bryce Harper.

It is just a meeting and no deal will be signed Friday night, a source tells NBC Sports Philadelphia. No other details were immediately available, but the Phillies have had ongoing discussions with Harper since first visiting with him and his agent, Scott Boras, in Las Vegas on January 12.

The Phillies went into this offseason hoping to sign one of the game’s top free agents. They hosted Manny Machado in Philadelphia in December, but he ended up signing a 10-year, $300-million contract with the San Diego Padres this week.

Machado’s signing with the Padres left Harper as the Phillies’ primary focus.

Several clubs in addition to the Phillies have pursued the slugging outfielder. One of those clubs is the Washington Nationals, the team Harper came up with. The Nats made news early Friday when owner Mark Lerner said in an interview that the club had “moved on” from Harper. A comment like that would lead one to believe that the Nationals have pulled out of the Harper sweepstakes. However, in the same interview, Lerner said the “door was always cracked a little bit.” So maybe the Nationals are not out of it.

Harper is clearly seeking to top Machado’s deal and probably the $325 million guarantee that Giancarlo Stanton got from the Marlins in a 13-year extension. Stanton is now with the Yankees.

The Padres pursued Harper before signing Machado. The Giants have expressed interest. There has been talk of a mystery team. While it is unclear how many teams are still in pursuit of Harper, it is clear where the Phillies stand — or in this case, where they are parked.

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More on the Phillies

At The Yard Podcast: Any Harper competition left for Phillies? Herrera vs. Williams and more

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At The Yard Podcast: Any Harper competition left for Phillies? Herrera vs. Williams and more

On this edition of At The Yard, Corey Seidman and Ricky Bottalico discuss the latest surrounding Bryce Harper's free agency. With the Nationals out on him, do the Phillies have any competition for the superstar? Who could be a mystery team?

If the Phillies sign Harper, which outfielder becomes the odd man out: Odubel Herrera or Nick Williams? Also, will we see a better season from Jake Arrieta?

1:00 - Nationals look out on Bryce Harper.
5:00 - Are the Padres contenders for Harper even after signing Manny Machado?
7:00 - If Boras rejects 10 years/$300 million, the Phillies should walk away.
10:00 - How much more is Harper worth than Machado?
13:00 - Odubel Herrera vs. Nick Williams.
18:30 - Phillie with the best chance to take a big step forward.
22:00 - Will Jake Arrieta be better this season?

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