Good news all around for the Mets this week. The Madoff suit settled, Terry Collins hasn’t blown a gasket at anyone and now Johan Santana has turned in a nice start against the defending World Series champs.
Santana held the Cardinals to one run in six innings and struck out six, didn’t walk anyone, and used just 68 pitches in six innings against a regular season-worthy Cardinals’ lineup. His velocity was off, but hell, results are results, no matter how crazy we all want to fixate on velocity. he had not been striking out a lot of guys so far this spring, so his K total today was a good sign.
There were some noises last week that Santana may pitch on Opening Day. Even if he doesn’t, the fact that he’s going six innings and pitching effectively now, when just a few weeks ago there was every reason to think he would start the season on the DL, is pretty great news.
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.