It’s time for baseball’s biggest spenders to pay up.
According to the Associated Press, via NBCSports.com, the Yankees were hit with a $13.9 million luxury tax bill from MLB on Thursday and the Red Sox were asked to pay $3.4 million.
For the Yanks, it’s their lowest luxury tax bill since 2003, down from $18 million in 2010 and $25.7 million in 2009. For the Red Sox, it’s their highest bill ever, up from the $1.5 million they paid last year. Both fees, which are based on the teams’ payrolls for 2011, must be paid to the MLB commissioner’s office by the end of January. The luxury tax threshold was $178 million.
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.