According to James Schmehl of MLive.com, Rick Porcello has opted out of his contract and is now arbitration-eligible this winter.
After the Tigers drafted Porcello out of high school as the 27th pick of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, they signed him to a four-year, $7.285 million major-league deal which included club options for 2011 and 2012. He exercised his right to opt out of the $1.34 million option for 2012, which has the chance to be a pretty lucrative choice since he’s eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter as a Super Two player. He remains under team control through 2015.
Porcello, who turned 23 in December, has a 4.54 ERA over his first season in the big leagues, averaging 4.8 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. His 51.9 percent career ground ball rate is ninth among starters with at least 500 innings pitched since the start of the 2009 season.
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.