Bryce Harper expects a record-setting bonus

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Bryce Harper2.jpgJon Heyman of Sports Illustrated has a source telling him that Bryce Harper is going to seek to break Stephen Strasburg’s record $15.67 million signing bonus when he’s selected next
month, almost certainly by the Nats. Man, he gets all the scoops.

I’m a bit skeptical. MASN’s Ben Goessling reported a couple of weeks ago that Scott Boras himself — who represents Harper — has said that he does not consider Harper to be in the same class as Strasburg. I suppose this could be negotiation ju-jitsu of some kind, but it’s probably the truth.  A near-finished pitching prospect is simply much closer to contributing to a major league team than is a 17 year-old slugger who plays a position — catcher — at which prospects tend to most slowly mature. In light of that I’d be a bit surprised if Harper gets more than Strasburg gets, pre-draft campaigning notwithstanding.

Still, there’s very little doubt that Haper will get the record bonus for a position player. That mark is currently held by shortstop Tim Beckham, to whom the Rays gave $6.15 million in 2008.

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.