Jair Jurrjens has allowed just three runs in 15 innings at Triple-A since being demoted to the minors last month, but the Braves haven’t given any thought to his return.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez made it clear that Jurrjens was sent to the minors as a demotion, rather than as a rehab assignment, telling David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Without making this sound cruel, he’s a minor league player right now.”
Gonzalez admitted that “nobody wants to have $5.5 million sitting down in Triple-A” and said reports from the minor-league coaching staff have been positive, but added that Jurrjens will only return “when he’s ready and we think he’s ready.”
In other words, it might be a while after the 26-year-old right-hander coughed up 17 runs in 16 innings to begin the season after injuries caused him to miss all of September last year.
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.