By BETH HARRIS (AP Sports Writer)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers, who have made pitching a priority in advance of the trade deadline, acquired starter Lance Lynn and reliever Joe Kelly on Friday in a swap with the Chicago White Sox.
The NL West leaders sent outfielder Trayce Thompson, pitcher Nick Nastrini and reliever Jordan Leasure to the White Sox.
Lynn and Kelly join utilityman Kiké Hernández from the Boston Red Sox and infielder-outfielder Amed Rosario from the Cleveland Guardians in Los Angeles, ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline.
“I would argue we have raised the floor and the ceiling,” manager Dave Roberts said.
The Dodgers may not be done, either, with a need for more starting pitching.
“I think there’s always a chance,” Roberts said. “There’s still time on the clock.”
Lynn has been mostly underwhelming this season. The 36-year-old right-hander is 6-9 with a 6.18 ERA and leads the American League in earned runs (79) and home runs allowed (28).
Roberts called Lynn a “victim of sort of the circumstance” with the sub-.500 White Sox, who are 13 games back of AL Central leader Minnesota.
“I just feel like getting in this environment, playing meaningful games will bring out the best in him,” Roberts said.
Lynn has 139 strikeouts in 115 innings and 10.9 per nine innings. In June, Lynn struck out 16 in a game against Seattle, setting a major-league mark for most strikeouts in a game by a pitcher with an ERA above 6.00.
He was an All-Star for the White Sox in 2021 and shortly after signed a $38 million, two-year contract extension that included a club option.
“I’m happy to have had the time that I had here, but it is a business and sometimes these things happen,” Lynn said. “I’m just looking forward to the possibility of making a playoff push.”
Lynn began the 2022 season on the injured list with a meniscus tear suffered in spring training. He returned in mid-June and finished the season with an 8-7 record in 21 starts and a 3.99 ERA. He recorded 121 strikeouts in 121 2/3 innings.
Lynn has spent most of his career in the AL. Besides the White Sox, he has pitched for Minnesota, the New York Yankees and Texas. He began his career with St. Louis, and missed the 2016 season with them after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Lynn won a World Series with the Cardinals in 2011, his debut season in the majors. The following year he earned his first All-Star berth.
The Dodgers have not yet decided who Lynn will replace in the rotation. He’ll arrive in Los Angeles this weekend and discuss a possible start against Oakland next week.
Kelly returns to Los Angeles for his second stint with the Dodgers. The hard-throwing right-handed reliever recently returned from the injured list for elbow inflammation. He has one save, a 4.97 ERA and 41 strikeouts this season.
Like Lynn, Kelly is eager to join a contending team.
“It’s something that I thrive on,” he said. “I think my personality type is to love the adrenaline, love the big moments. So, I’m super, super stoked to go back for sure.”
Kelly pitched for the Dodgers from 2019-21, winning the World Series during the pandemic-delayed 2020 season. He had a 3.59 ERA in 105 1/3 innings during that span.
“I would argue that his stuff is even better than it was then when he was with us, the velocity, the curveball, all that stuff,” Roberts said. “He’s a guy, like most players when they’re in a winning environment, they thrive.”
Kelly isn’t the only former Dodger to land back in Los Angeles. Hernández returns three years after he departed for the East Coast.
Rosario was set to start at shortstop Friday night in the series opener against the Reds. But the plan is for him to get acclimated to second base and also play some center field. He’ll mostly start against left-handed pitching.
“It’s certainly a big upgrade for our ballclub,” Roberts said. “He’s been good versus right-handed pitching, but he’s been a killer versus lefties and that’s something we want to capture.”
AP Baseball Writer Jay Cohen, AP Sports Writer Eric Olson and AP freelancer Seth Engle contributed to this report.
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