The Indians beat the Royals 5-4 last night to stay within 5 1/2 games of the first-place Tigers in the American League Central, but they lost another member of their starting lineup in the process.
Asdrubal Cabrera is out of tonight’s lineup against the Royals after leaving Friday’s game with a left knee contusion. The All-Star shortstop suffered the injury when he fouled a ball off his left knee in the top of the third inning. He stayed in the game at first, even slugging a two-run homer later in the at-bat, but was replaced by Jason Donald at shortstop to begin the bottom of the inning.
The good news is that X-rays came back negative on the knee and Cabrera is officially listed as day-to-day. He could be back in the starting lineup as soon as tomorrow, but missing him for even one night is a tough blow as the Indians attempt to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive.
Cabrera, 25, is batting .278/.337/.467 with 22 homers, 80 RBI, 16 stolen bases and an .804 OPS over 591 plate appearances this season.
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.