Last week the Nationals designated Justin Maxwell for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for free agent signing Todd Coffey and today they traded the 27-year-old outfielder to the Yankees.
Maxwell once looked like a promising prospect with a good combination of power and speed, smacking 27 homers and swiping 35 bases in 2007 as a 23-year-old at Single-A, but he’s hit just .201 with 83 strikeouts in 219 career at-bats while rarely getting an opportunity to play regularly for the Nationals.
It’ll obviously be even tougher to crack the Yankees’ lineup and Maxwell may not be at full strength yet while coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery in October, but if healthy he’ll likely get a chance to win a bench job during spring training.
UPDATE: Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Nationals are getting right-hander Adam Olbrychowski in return for Maxwell, which sounds about right. He was the Yankees’ fifth-round pick in 2007 and projects as a potential middle reliever down the road.
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.