Rangers won’t move slumping Vladimir Guerrero out of the cleanup spot

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Vladimir Guerrero is 7-for-32 (.219) with one RBI in eight playoff games after hitting just .278/.322/.426 in the second half, but manager Ron Washington made it very clear that he won’t be moving out of the cleanup spot:

That’s the way I ran the lineup all year and it’s going to stay that way. A guy of Vlad’s stature, he’s only one swing away from doing damage. He’s our No. 4 hitter and he’s going to stay that way.

Guerrero was the Rangers’ cleanup hitter in all 145 games he started this season, so Washington declining to make a change in the playoffs is hardly surprising, but with Nelson Cruz hitting well now after out-producing Guerrero by 100 points of OPS during the regular season a change would make plenty of sense.

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.