So far at least Kevin Youkilis has avoided the disabled list despite being out of the lineup tonight for the third straight game with a back injury, but in the meantime the Red Sox have called up shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias to provide some infield depth.
Youkilis is active but not available, so Boston demoted right-hander Junichi Tazawa to Triple-A to make room on the roster for Iglesias.
Nick Punto has been filling in for Youkilis at third base, so manager Bobby Valentine could decide to shift Mike Aviles to the hot corner instead and use the slick-fielding Iglesias at shortstop. Or maybe Iglesias will just hang around for a few days as bench insurance.
Valentine was full of praise for Iglesias during spring training, but the 22-year-old was hitting just .200 with a .485 OPS at Triple-A after posting similarly underwhelming numbers in Pawtucket last season. His defense is widely considered Gold Glove-caliber, but so far his bat hasn’t even been utility man-caliber.
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.