Orioles demote struggling starter Tommy Hunter to Triple-A

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Tommy Hunter is a 25-year-old veteran of five big-league seasons with 61 starts and 372 innings in the majors, but today the Orioles demoted him to Triple-A.

Hunter has struggled since Baltimore acquired him from Texas along with Chris Davis in exchange for Koji Uehara last July, throwing 105 innings with a 5.04 ERA and just 4.7 strikeouts per nine frames.

He was better than that with the Rangers, although just barely. Hunter had a 4.36 ERA and 5.1 strikeouts per nine frames in 266 total innings for Texas.

Jason Berken, a 28-year-old with a 5.34 ERA in 229 career innings, was called up from Triple-A to take Hunter’s spot on the roster.

Report: Orioles interested in Lance Lynn

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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.