Twins still negotiating contract details with Tsuyoshi Nishioka

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When the Twins traded starting shortstop J.J. Hardy to the Orioles last week it signaled that they were extremely confident about being able to sign Tsuyoshi Nishioka before the December 26 deadline.

No deal is in place yet, but LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the two sides are close enough to an agreement that Nishioka will soon travel to Minnesota for a pre-signing physical exam.

Some of the details still be worked out include “who interprets for Nishioka and how many round-trip tickets between the United States and Japan the club will be on the hook for.” As for money, he’s expected to receive about $10 million over three seasons after the Twins bid $5 million to secure his negotiating rights.

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.