According to Jeff Sanders of the North County Times, the Padres have requested unconditional release waivers on shortstop Jason Bartlett.
The Padres signed Bartlett to a two-year, $11 million contract with an option for 2013 in December of 2010 after acquiring him from the Rays, but he ended up being quite the disappointment, batting just .245/.308/.307 with a .607 OPS last year and .133 (11-for-83) in 29 games this year prior to hitting the disabled list in mid-May with a strained right knee. He hasn’t played a game since.
Bartlett’s $5.5 million option for 2013 would have become guaranteed if he reached 432 plate appearances this year. While the Padres were fortunate that didn’t happen, they’ll still be on the hook for a $1.5 million buyout to turn the page.
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.