The Angels demoted reliever Michael Kohn and replaced him with journeyman lefty Horacio Ramirez prior to Wednesday’s game, bringing the former Brave back to the majors for the first time in two years.
Ramirez was last seen with the Royals in 2009. Despite a horrible March, he was named the team’s fifth starter out of spring training that year — Dayton Moore and company badly wanted a left-handed starter in the rotation — only to get demoted after one start. He had a 5.96 ERA in 22 2/3 innings that season before getting cut in June.
Ramirez debuted in the Braves in 2003, going 12-4 with a 4.00 ERA as a rookie. After four seasons in Atlanta, he was famously traded to Seattle for Rafael Soriano, a deal that was so clearly awful at the time that it still manages to standout in Bill Bavasi’s disastrous tenure as Mariners GM. Ramirez didn’t even last the season in Seattle as he racked up as 7.16 ERA in 20 starts. Since leaving Atlanta, he has a 6.32 ERA in 158 innings as a major leaguer.
Now he’s back after going 3-1 with a 3.47 ERA as a reliever for Triple-A Salt Lake. Lefties hit just .222 off him in 63 at-bats, so he’ll get a quick look before the Angels decide whether they need to pick up another southpaw before the deadline.
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.