Ryan Howard told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that the ankle injury which caused him to miss three weeks last August and sapped his production down the stretch still isn’t 100 percent healed.
More importantly, in doing so he said:
I still get a little bit of stiffness every once in a while. I’ll take it now and see what happens in spring training. I’ll just continue to look after it and take care of it. Those kinds of things linger, like The Cranberries.
He is, of course, referring to the song “Linger” by the Irish band The Cranberries, who were pretty big for a while in the early 1990s. Howard was 14 years old when the song came out, although baseball-playing jocks from Missouri probably weren’t Dolores O’Riordan’s target demographic.
As for the ankle injury, Howard said it’s about 90-95 percent healthy and “a lot better than it was” when he played through it in August and September, hitting just .231 with a modest .786 OPS in 39 games following a disabled list stint.
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.