The recruitment of Cole Hamels has already started

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All-Star Cole Hamels has more best friends that he knows what to do with. While opposing teams can’t talk to the free-agent-to-be, players on other teams are under no such restrictions.

“All I say to them is that I’ve been to every city, and I know what every city is like,” Hamels told Danny Knobler of CBS Sports on Tuesday.

Incidentally, Hamels has his locker stationed next to Clayton Kershaw’s in the Kansas City visitors clubhouse.  Flush with cash, the Dodgers seem pretty likely to be the high bidder for Hamels this winter, assuming that the Phillies can’t sign him to an extension before then.

I would love to have him there,” Kershaw told Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times. “Our whole team would love to have a guy of his caliber. I hope we make a run at him.”

Hamels made it sound like testing free agency is the likely scenario.

“Anybody that wants to win, they’ve got a fair shot,” he said.

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.