Clay Buchholz tossed a two-hitter tonight as part of a 3-2 win over the Indians, but the Red Sox were dealt another tough blow on the injury front in the process.
Will Middlebrooks left the game in the top of the ninth inning after being hit in the right wrist by a pitch. The Red Sox have yet to make an official announcement on his status, but Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe was told by a source that Middlebrooks was diagnosed with a broken wrist. If true, his rookie season will almost certainly be over.
Middlebrooks, 23, is batting .281/.325/.509 with 15 home runs, 54 RBI and an .835 OPS in 75 games played this season. His emergence caused the Red Sox to deal Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox for peanuts in late June. Danny Valencia, who was acquired from the Twins last Sunday, is expected to be called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday and figures to get most of the playing time at third base moving forward.
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.