Don’t worry Yankees fans: A-Rod is still ‘above average”

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Alex Rodriguez popped out with the bases loaded to end Sunday’s 10-8 loss to the Angels. But, hey, his general manager still thinks he’s good. Kind of.

“I don’t look at A-Rod and his contract. I look at him as a player who’s above average at his position,” Brian Cashman told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

Cashman is absolutely right, of course. And that’s how Rodriguez should be looked at; the money is already spent anyway. A-Rod isn’t what he was, but he’s still a pretty good hitter and he hasn’t turned into a liability at third base yet, though he might before his deal is up.

Of course, it is the money that is getting him booed. Rodriguez is signed through 2017 and still has at least $118 million coming his way after this year.

A-Rod hit his 14th homer today, a two-run shot off Jered Weaver. He also had a single in five at-bats. Overall, he’s hitting a perfectly respectable .270 with 40 RBI in 85 games. It’s just that the fans want more than “above average” from him.

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.