Rangers reliever Koji Uehara wants to be back with Orioles

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Koji Uehara struggled following a midseason trade to the Rangers and was left off the World Series roster, and now Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that the reliever wants to return to the Orioles next year:

I continue to believe that Koji Uehara will find a way back to the Orioles. … It’s hard to not feel for the guy, particularly because I remember him blinking back tears when he was traded while the team was in New York. … Uehara still owns a home in the area and has talked with people close to him about wanting to return.

Uehara was brilliant in Baltimore and the Orioles would no doubt be open to him returning, but the problem is that he’s under contract for $4 million in 2012 and the Rangers traded for him in part because they wanted the bullpen help for next season. And even while serving up homers in bunches for the Rangers he posted an excellent 24/3 K/BB ratio in 19 innings, so he could have a big role in Texas if given an extended opportunity.

Report: Orioles interested in Lance Lynn

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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.