Damon, Yankees still a match

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As we covered yesterday, there are more outfielders available than jobs open at the moment. The odds of anyone stepping up and offering Johnny Damon the two-year, $20 million+ deal he expected at the beginning of the offseason fall somewhere in between slim and none. Cincinnati is the one team that has an obvious need for him in left field and at the top of the order, but there’s nothing to suggest that the Reds will bid. The Braves and Giants have alternatives and are short of cash. If there’s going to be a race for Damon’s services at any point over the next month, it seems likely to come down to the Yankees and Tigers.
The Tigers, though, have plenty of options. Carlos Guillen and Ryan Raburn are both available to play left field, so while Detroit wants a bat, a pure DH might work out just fine. Jim Thome could put about as many runs on the board as Damon and would come quite a bit cheaper.
On the other hand, the Yankees are pretty much down to one option if they want to further improve their team before Opening Day. They don’t need Damon — they’d surely score tons of runs without him — but he was a key piece in the 2009 World Series victory and it’s hard to believe that the team doesn’t have $6 million-$7 million laying around to throw at him. Damon is surely worth that much more than a possible Brett Gardner-Jamie Hoffman platoon, even if he would be a downgrade defensively.
It probably won’t happen this week or even before the end of the month, but Damon back to the Bronx is still the most likely scenario out there. Nothing else is even close.

Report: Orioles interested in Lance Lynn

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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.