There was a time this summer — maybe for about two weeks — when everyone was high on the Pirates. It was damn nigh magical. Some considered them a contender. I wasn’t quite that optimistic, but I did wonder whether they could at least break .500 and thus break their string of uninterrupted losing seasons dating back to the George H.W. Bush Administration. It’s sad. The future is at least a little brighter than it used to be, but it’s still sad.
For the record, the 82nd loss came against the Cardinals, who rode a decent start from Edwin Jackson and got a single, double and a couple of RBIs from Yadier Molina as St. Louis beat Pittsburgh 3-2. Unfortunately for the Cardinals the Braves won too, taking the Marlins down 4-1 in a game that ended before I even realized that it had begun. Viva day baseball.
The Braves continue to lead the Cards by four and a half in the wild card. The Braves have 12 games left. The Cardinals have 13.
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.