Freddy Sanchez finally inching closer to return

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Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Freddy Sanchez will begin a minor-league rehab assignment “no later than Tuesday” of next week.
Sanchez has been playing extended spring training games in Arizona, but manager Bruce Bochy speculated that he’ll need about 30 at-bats on the rehab stint before potentially rejoining the Giants.
Acquired from the Pirates in the middle of last season, Sanchez has played just 25 games for the Giants because of shoulder and knee injuries. Despite missing time and posting a measly .619 OPS down the stretch last season the Giants inked him to a two-year, $12 million contract in late October.
In addition to the injuries Sanchez is 32 years old and hasn’t had an above-average OPS since 2007, so the contract is obviously looking like a mistake right now. Juan Uribe, Mark DeRosa, and Matt Downs have done very well filling in for Sanchez at second base, combining to hit .308 with an .859 OPS that ranks sixth among all MLB teams for the position.

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.