Lynn was 12-11 with a 3.03 ERA last season. He was an All-Star in 2012 and has three straight seasons of 30 or more starts. He’s among 16 pitchers to work 175 or more innings each of the last four years.
The loss of Lynn is the latest blow to the NL Central champion Cardinals pitching depth.
John Lackey became the team’s ace after Adam Wainwright was sidelined with a torn left Achilles in April and went 13-10 with a career-best 2.77 ERA and started in Games 1 and 4 of the NL Division Series against the Chicago Cubs. Now he’s a free agent.
The Cardinals have made a $15.8 million qualifying offer to the 37-year-old Lackey and could seek to sign him to a longer deal.
Talented youngster Carlos Martinez was shut down at the end of the season with a shoulder strain. Wainwright made only a handful of relief appearances at the end of the regular season and in the division series, although the team anticipates he’ll be 100 percent for spring training.
Top pitching prospect Alex Reyes was suspended Monday 50 games for testing positive for a drug of abuse. The Cardinals had expected the 21-year-old Reyes might make his major-league debut at some point next season.