Kenley Jansen was hospitalized in Denver earlier this week due to an irregular heartbeat. He missed a month last season with the very same issue and he’ll soon find out whether his recent scare will cost him the rest of the season.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Jansen threw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Friday and plans to play catch today. He’s scheduled to see a heart specialist on Tuesday, who will tell him whether he must continue taking a a blood-thinning medication. His medication prevents clots and strokes, but can also cause severe bleeding. He could bleed to death if he was struck by a baseball, so he isn’t even allowed to sit in the dugout while taking the medication.
If Jansen is cleared by the specialist, he could pitch again as soon as next Friday against the Giants. However, if he is instructed to continue taking the medication, he will not be allowed to throw for four weeks. That would essentially end his season.
Health obviously comes first here, but it’s still a tough break for Jansen, who stepped into the closer role at the end of April and has a 2.54 ERA and 86/19 K/BB ratio over 56 1/3 innings this season. Brandon League and Ronald Belisario are expected to split save chances during his absence.
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.