As part of their coaching shakeup last month the Phillies fired hitting coach Greg Gross and replaced him with Steve Henderson, and today they announced that Henderson will also have an assistant hitting coach in Wally Joyner.
Joyner spent 16 seasons in the majors as a lefty-hitting first baseman, batting .289 with more walks than strikeouts and 204 homers among 2,060 total hits. He briefly served as the Padres’ hitting coach a few years ago.
MLB teams are limited in the number of coaches they can have on staff, or at least in uniform on a daily basis, but the Phillies are able to add Joyner as an assistant hitting coach because they’re apparently going without a bench coach.
Pitching coach Rich Dubee has long been manager Charlie Manuel’s right-hand man anyway and new third base coach Ryne Sandberg will presumably fill some of the usual bench coach role as well.
And now a lineup that ranked eighth and seventh among NL teams in scoring during the past two seasons will have a pair of coaches devoted to putting more runs on the board.
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.