According to the Associated Press, MLS commissioner Don Garber believes the Wilpons would make “great” owners of the league’s 20th franchise, despite their current financial and legal troubles.
“The success of our league is the core values of our ownership group and … I believe the Wilpons fit very well with our owners in terms of who they are and their values and their ethics,” Garber said. “I really hope they get through their issues quickly. I don’t believe the full story has been told, and I am very supportive of them.”
The Wilpons have been mentioned as potential MLS owners for a while now, as the league attempts to reboot the Cosmos and give the Red Bulls a rival in the New York market.
Mets executive vice president Dave Howard doesn’t deny the Wilpons’ interest, but tells Adam Rubin of ESPN New York it’s all in “the exploratory phase.” That’s a fancy way of saying we have no money.
Garber won’t rule out other investors or putting the 20th franchise in another market, but the pull to the Wilpons is understandable. There’s been talk in the past about potentially building a soccer stadium in the vacant Citi Field parking lot.
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.