One of the most interesting 40-man roster additions yesterday was the A’s choosing to protect 21-year-old pitching prospect Michael Ynoa from the Rule 5 draft despite his throwing a grand total of 39.2 career innings and not yet pitching above Single-A.
Ynoa received a then-record $4.25 million bonus when he signed with the A’s out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old in 2008. He was already 6-foot-7 then and considered an excellent prospect with huge upside, but injuries have repeatedly derailed his career.
Ynoa threw a total of nine innings from 2008-2011, missing all of 2011 following Tommy John elbow surgery, but came back this year to throw 31 innings. Of course, those 31 innings came as a 21-year-old in rookie-ball and low Single-A, and Ynoa struggled mightily with a 6.46 ERA and 25/25 K/BB ratio.
Clearly the A’s believed there was at least some chance one of the other 29 teams would take a flier on Ynoa in the Rule 5 draft next month despite a complete lack of experience or success and they didn’t want to lose their $4.25 million investment for nothing. And so in 2013 he’ll be the only player in low Single-A on a 40-man roster.
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.