Nats demote Henry Rodriguez, will go closer-by-committee

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The Nationals are switching things up at closer.

According to Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington’s Nats Insider, manager Davey Johnson announced Tuesday night that right-hander Henry Rodriguez has been demoted back to his old setup role.

Johnson will open things up in the ninth inning, giving save chances to a combination of Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen until Drew Storen (elbow surgery) is ready to return.

Rodriguez has allowed 10 hits, 13 walks and nine earned runs in 18 innings this season and has blown three saves. He’s one of the hardest-throwers in the major leagues but the 25-year-old failed to run with this particular opportunity to be a closer.

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.