Everybody already assumed as much, but Cardinals general manager John
Mozeliak finally confirmed it on Saturday when he said his willingness
to hire Mark McGwire as the team’s new hitting coach was contingent upon him addressing his past use of performance enhancing drugs:
“He needed to be honest,” Mozeliak told the media during a press
conference at the 14th annual Winter Warm-Up. “He needed to say more
than just that statement, ‘I’m not here to talk about the past.’ … He
needed to not have a line or a sentence that he was going to stand
This isn’t much of a revelation, of course, but in a surprising moment
of candor, Mozeliak said that he was ready to develop an “exit
strategy” if McGwire did not agree to an appearance to answer questions:
“My concern was early on in this process that we would never get
there,” Mozeliak said. “I had a lot of concerns. How it would be said,
and what would be said. … We had to have more than we had in 2005.”
While “coming clean” has found McGwire new employment, it probably won’t make a difference as far as the Hall of Fame is concerned.
The New York Times surveyed 35 Hall of Fame voters, and found that his
confession won’t make a difference with those who have voted against
him in the past. If anything, writes David Waldstein, “McGwire might
lost a vote or two.”
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.