UPDATE: According to B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny just announced that Berkman will undergo season-ending surgery on his knee tomorrow. It would be a darn shame to see him go out this way, but he has already hinted at retiring after this season.
10:15 AM: Lance Berkman’s status for the remainder of the season is now in doubt, as Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the Cardinals first baseman left the team and traveled to his home in Houston to have his surgically repaired right knee examined by the doctor who performed the operation in May.
Langosch writes that “shutting him down for the season” is a possibility because Berkman has been limited to just six total plate appearances since returning from a disabled list stint for inflammation in his knee five weeks ago.
Berkman has previously indicated that he’s leaning toward retirement after the season, so if the 36-year-old doesn’t get a good diagnosis from the doctor this could be the end of the line for the one of the best and most underrated hitters of this era.
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.