Matt Dominguez is just 21 years old and spent last season hitting just .252 with a .744 OPS at Double-A, but the 2007 first-round pick looks set to skip Triple-A and win the Marlins’ starting job at third base.
In fact, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com “if the season opened today, Dominguez would be in the starting lineup.”
Dominguez’s defense has always drawn rave reviews and it sounds like that’s what has the Marlins convinced he’s their best option at third base, but he hasn’t been particularly impressive offensively this spring and projects to really struggle at the plate based on his age, lack of experience, and mediocre Double-A production.
Of course, Frisaro also writes about Dominguez’s “body language” and says he’s “handling himself well … not in a cocky way, but the California native is walking and acting like he belongs.”
Once teams and the writers that cover them start talking about that type of stuff for a young player, actual performance tends to go out the window. It also helps that the other options to play third base are pretty ugly and are led by Donnie Murphy, Wes Helms, and Greg Dobbs.
I’d lean toward letting one of those guys keep the position warm for a couple months while Dominguez gets some experience at Triple-A and delays the start of his service time to give the Marlins another season of team control down the line, but it sounds like they’re set on handing him the job right now.
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.