Chien-Ming Wang tossed six innings of two-run ball last night in a minor-league rehab start at Single-A and might be one more solid outing away from rejoining the Nationals.
Wang has been out since injuring his calf covering first base on March 15 and has also battled major shoulder problems for the past three seasons, but Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that “his cannonball sinker is back in the low-90s, and his breaking balls are better than ever.”
Wang racked up an uncharacteristic seven strikeouts versus Single-A hitters last night and also induced five ground-ball outs, but with Ross Detwiler pitching very well as the fill-in fifth starter the Nationals will have a tough decision to make once Wang is deemed ready to return as soon as next week.
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.