We’ve seen people get excited about Yankees scouts watching Cliff Lee pitch (never mind that he was pitching against the Yankees in one of those games! It’s significant, I tells ya!), but really there hasn’t been any strong reason to believe that New York is all that interested. And now we hear more on the total “meh” that is the Yankees’ non-pursuit of Cliff Lee.
I’m paraphrasing, but Buster Olney basically says that the Yankees think they could get Cliff Lee if they wanted to, but like, they’re not totally into him. Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal reports that some insider tells him that the Yankees are “kicking the tires” on Lee, like he’s a used Oldsmobile or something. Rosenthal’s source says that the Yankees have less than a 50% chance of getting Lee.
Know what I think? I think that the Yankees just want to be troublemakers here. They want to see if they can’t make the Twins and Mets — rivals in one vague form or another — overpay and, hey, if they give the New York writers something to do besides figure out what LeBron James’ latest breakfast Really Means, all the more fun.
The Yankees don’t need Lee now. They can easily outbid anyone for him in December. This is all fun and games for them.
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.