We don’t do a post every time a player launches their first major league home run, but Bryce Harper is not your regular rookie.
Harper connected for his first career home run in the bottom of the third inning tonight as part of an 8-5 win over the Padres. It was a long solo blast off right-hander Tim Stauffer which landed on the grassy batter’s eye in straight-away center field at Nationals Park.
The 19-year-old outfielder sprinted around the bases before being congratulated by teammates and coaches in the dugout, but he eventually came out to give a curtain call to the Nationals’ faithful. We may soon find out if the Padres have a designated enforcer of “old school” on their pitching staff.
Harper hit the home run in his 54th at-bat in the big leagues. If things play out like the Nationals hope, this is just the beginning of him terrorizing major league pitching.
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.