Rangers beat A's, clinch American League West crown

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Buoyed by a solid performance from starter Derek Holland and a game-winning eighth-inning home run by first baseman Jorge Cantu, the Rangers became the second MLB team to wrap up a spot in the playoffs Saturday with a 4-3 victory over the A’s.

The Twins grabbed the American League Central crown earlier this week.

Congratulations are in order for manager Ron Washington, who has quickly become one of the more well-respected skippers in the game.  And general manager Jon Daniels, a great and young front-office mind.

The Rangers haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999, when they lost in the ALDS.  They haven’t made it to the ALCS or beyond in the 49-year history of the franchise.

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.