Mets right-hander Mike Pelfrey has registered an underwhelming 4.58 ERA and 1.44 WHIP across 190 2/3 innings this season, failing in many ways to build on his breakout 2010 campaign.
But the arbitration-eligible starter is likely to be back in New York’s rotation next year anyway.
According to beat writer Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger, the Mets are expected to tender Big Pelf a contract this winter even if it means paying him nearly $6 million. Not because they saw greatness in him this year, or because they’re certain that he’ll improve going forward, but because the market for starting pitching is ultra thin and the now cost-conscious Mets aren’t likely to make competitive bids for any of the few available arms.
Pelfrey earned $1.45 million in 2010 and $3.5 million in 2011. He’ll be entering his third year of arbitration.
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.