Rosters expand from 25 to 40 tomorrow, but the Indians needed a spot for today’s starting pitcher, Jeanmar Gomez, and created one by optioning Matt LaPorta to Triple-A.
LaPorta will no doubt be back in September, but he’ll have to wait at least 10 days to rejoin the team unless someone is placed on the disabled list in the meantime.
LaPorta was the centerpiece of the package Cleveland got from Milwaukee for CC Sabathia and at the time the former No. 7 overall pick looked like a future middle-of-the-order impact bat, but he’s battled various injuries while hitting just .234 with a .694 OPS in 259 games for the Indians.
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.