According to a Sanspo report via Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Central League have announced the signing of outfielder Lastings Milledge.
Former Athletics and Tigers farmhand Scot Drucker actually spoiled the news earlier this month, but the signing is now official.
Milledge will earn around $570,000 next season while his contract includes a club option for 2013.
It wasn’t too long ago that Milledge was considered a top prospect in the Mets’ organization, but his stock has plummeted in recent years. He actually made the White Sox Opening Day roster this past season, but was quickly designated for assignment in early-April and spent the rest of the year at the Triple-A level after passing through waivers unclaimed. The 26-year-old has a .269/.328/.395 batting line and .723 OPS over 1,659 plate appearances in the majors.
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.