Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe this evening that “it’s conceivable” Rich Hill could be activated from the disabled list this weekend while the club is in Chicago. See, who needs Carl Crawford?
Hill reinvented himself as a sidearmer last year and posted a 12/3 K/BB ratio over eight scoreless innings with the Red Sox before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery in June. The 32-year-old left-hander has been very solid during his minor league rehab assignment, posting a 2.00 ERA and an 18/2 K/BB ratio over nine innings between Class A Greenville, High-A Salem and Triple-A Pawtucket. The Red Sox have seen him top out at 93 mph with his fastball.
More help for Boston’s beleaguered bullpen could soon follow, as Mark Melancon has struck out six over 3 1/3 scoreless innings since his demotion last week. The Red Sox have also converted prospect right-hander Alex Wilson from a starter to a reliever this week to prepare him for the major leagues.
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.