Brian McCann has been limited to pinch-hitting duties since tweaking his right hamstring on September 12 and Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Braves catcher won’t return to the starting lineup “for at least a couple of more days.”
The good news is that he’s feeling better. The bad news is that McCann explained that “it’s still hard to move laterally” and “it’d be hard to block a ball and it’d be hard to move behind the plate.”
Atlanta has one of the league’s best backup catchers in David Ross, who’s hit .255 with seven homers in 173 plate appearances while posting an OPS above .760 for the fourth consecutive season.
McCann has played 112 games so far this season and his previous career-low was 128 games last year, before which he’d appeared in at least 130 games from 2006-2010.
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.