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New contract gives Lynn security to focus on what matters most – his pitching

So serious. Maybe with a new three-year deal, Lance Lynn can lighten up.            (MLB photo)

So serious. Maybe with a new three-year deal, Lance Lynn can lighten up. (MLB photo)

St. Louis starter Lance Lynn entered spring training competing for a spot in the rotation.

Lynn, 27,  has the security of a long-term contract after getting a three-year, $22 million extension that he signed in the off-season. The Cardinals and Lynn avoided arbitration by agreeing to the deal.

“You know it’s going to take care of itself with the arbitration process, but just to get the whole three years situated so we don’t ever have to go through it,” Lynn said. “Both of us feel like we got what we wanted and I’m excited about it.”

The Cardinals signed the right-handed pitcher until 2017, when he will be 30. He will be a free agent entering his prime years.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Lance,” St. Louis General Manager John Mozeliak said. “His performance has led to much success for both he and the Cardinals organization, and we look forward to his continued growth as both a pitcher and team leader.”

It was a good move for both sides. For the Cardinals, Lynn’s contract ensures cost certainty while avoiding the haggling that would have come – especially if Lynn keeps producing quality work.

Money is always tricky, but Mozeliak said the Cardinals did not overpay Lynn.

“Obviously, when you start talking about free-agent years or option years, there’s a cost to that,” Mozeliak said. “It certainly was something that was on the table and discussed. But ultimately the comfort of something getting done, even though it may feel short, it gives us some cost certainty.”

The Cardinals did not want to go to arbitration.

“When you look at where he might have been headed in an arbitration hearing, I think it’s something that might be very scary for both sides,” Mozeliak said. “Lance really wanted to find a way to stay in St. Louis, and he and his agent made it very clear that was their goal.”

Lynn said he is happy. He did not want to miss the chance for free agency and he got that in this deal.

“That was something that was our main focus from the get-go, was to not give away one or two free-agent years,” Lynn added. “That’s what we stuck to.”

That 2014 season certainly helped him get his deal.

“All my motivation is, I want to do everything in my ability for us to win the day that I’m pitching,” Lynn said. “That’s all I really cared about. In years past, I feel like I haven’t pitched up to my capability at certain times. It just happened to translate into helping get some better (salary) numbers.”

He vows to keep working hard and improving himself as a pitcher.

“I have to keep moving forward, always trying to get better and refining my skills,” Lynn said. “I have to avoid complacency.”

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