Mets manager Terry Collins implied earlier this month that he planned on Johan Santana starting Opening Day against the Braves on April 5, saying “in my mind, in my heart, he’ll be ready.” Or at least that’s what we thought he meant.
Collins clarified his comments yesterday, telling Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that he feels Santana will be with the team on Opening Day, but not necessarily as the starting pitcher. The rehabbing left-hander is being lined up for the season opener, but the team wants to leave the door open in case he needs extra rest.
“I have not decided who is pitching Opening Day,” Collins told The News on Friday. “Now, my point is, right now, as we get through spring training, we may have to make adjustments. If Johan is, ‘Hey, look, I’ll be ready,’ but maybe he needs to pitch game two or game three or game four, we will adjust.”
Santana allowed five runs — four earned — over 2 2/3 innings yesterday against the Tigers
, but was regularly hitting 90-91 mph on the radar gun and didn’t have any issues with his surgically repaired shoulder. Heck, if someone told you a month ago that Santana would be healthy enough to start the season on the active roster, they would have been met with immediate skepticism. So the fact that this is even a story at this point is pretty encouraging.
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.