If Cardinals fans disliked Johnny Cueto before, they’re going to really despise the guy now.
Cardinals backup catcher Jason LaRue told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Saturday that he is done playing professional baseball due to a concussion suffered in early August when Cueto kicked him multiple times in the head.
“I’m done,” LaRue said. “It’s a simple decision.”
LaRue is still dealing with random bouts of headaches and nausea and said he gets a feeling much like seasickness when watching television or riding in a car. He wasn’t able to cook for himself, either, even a month after the kicks.
The 36-year-old will finish up with a .231/.315/.396 career batting line, accomplished over 11-plus professional seasons. He hit .196 this year with two homers and five RBI in 55 at-bats as Yadier Molina’s backup.
LaRue considered taking legal action against Cueto in the weeks after the on-field assault but has since dropped that idea. We’re thinking the Reds may want to limit Cueto’s exposure to the Busch Stadium crowd for a while. A long while.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa — an almost overly loyal backer of the guys he likes, and he liked LaRue — is most definitely steaming about tonight’s news.
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.