Finally, some news to pass along concerning this offseason’s top free agent: Albert Pujols.
According to MLB.com’s Matthew Leach, the 31-year-old first baseman is scheduled to meet with Marlins officials in Miami “within the next few days.”
The meeting will probably be similar to the one that free agent shortstop Jose Reyes took part in earlier this week. He was given a tour of the Marlins’ nearly-finished ballpark in Little Havana and treated to a meal at the famous Joe’s Stone Crab.
Pujols has registered a .328/.420/.617 career batting line through his first 11 major league seasons and is already considered one of the greatest right-handed hitters in baseball history. He’s likely to command a free agent contract worth north of $200 million.
The Cardinals want Albert back badly and are considered by many to be the current favorite for his services, but they’re going to have some competition this winter and the Fish might represent a real threat.
It’s not known if the St. Louis front office has had contact with Pujols since the World Series parade.
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.