Ryan Howard, who was in an 0-for-15 slump before coming off the bench and delivering a game-winning double in the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader, says his sore left ankle continues to bother him and he might get a cortisone shot.
It sounds as though Howard would prefer to just have the one cortisone shot, so he might choose to play through the pain for now and then get the injection prior to the start of the postseason. It’s not as though the Phillies need him at his best right now.
Besides, even with that 0-for-15, Howard is hitting .255/.397/.553 with four homers and 10 RBI in 47 at-bats this month. It looks like he’ll finish this year with the lowest OPS of his career — he’s at .831 right now — but he’s leading the majors with 113 RBI anyway.
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.