Being a Braves fan was its most fun when a potentially-crazy billionaire owned them. We won’t get a second go-around of that, however, because Mark Cuban told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution yesterday that he has no interest in buying the team.
Now, the Braves aren’t for sale, but that doesn’t mean this is a wholly academic exercise. The team’s current owner — Liberty Media — may very well look to move the team soon because of the terms of the deal it made with Time-Warner when it bought the team four years ago, requiring that they keep the team until the current collective bargaining agreement expires, and that’s in a couple of weeks. There are some tax consequences to it all too. And given that the very purchase of the team seemed to be driven by some sort of corporate financial calculation rather than any animate feelings for baseball, it’s not like Liberty has any kind of real attachment to the Bravos.
But back to Cuban: he told Dave O’Brien of the AJC that he prefers “franchises that need a lot of help,” and that “the Braves have a great franchise.” And that means that he wouldn’t be interested if the team was put on the market.
Crap. Anyone know any other potentially-crazy billionaires? Miss you.
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.