Hong-Chih Kuo has no plans to retire despite fifth surgery

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Hong-Chih Kuo’s agent told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that the injured left-hander has no plans to retire despite battling anxiety issues during the season and needing a fifth elbow surgery.

Kuo is scheduled to go under the knife tomorrow, but the surgery is a relatively minor removal of “loose bodies” from his elbow and the recovery timetable is expected to be just 6-8 weeks. Or as Dodgers trainer Stan Conte put it: “It’s a minor surgery for anyone other than Kuo.”

Assuming the Dodgers tender him a contract for next season Kuo will be in line for at least $2.75 million via the arbitration process and while his health has always been a huge question mark he’s still just 30 years old. And even while struggling with extreme control problems this season Kuo racked up 36 strikeouts in 27 innings after posting a 1.96 ERA and 201 strikeouts in 170 innings from 2008-2010.

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.