Henderson Alvarez began this season at Single-A, but 16 starts later the 21-year-old right-hander is in the majors after the Blue Jays called him up today.
Alvarez is stepping into the rotation spot that belonged to Carlos Villanueva, who’s on the disabled list with a strained forearm, and will make his big-league debut tomorrow at home against the A’s.
That’s a favorable first matchup for Alvarez, who had a 2.86 ERA and 66/17 K/BB ratio in 88 innings at Double-A.
Those are strong overall numbers and reports of his fastball hitting the upper-90s consistently speak well of his raw stuff, but his strikeout rate is nothing special and Alvarez had mediocre numbers at Single-A last season. Expect some growing pains initially.
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.