Amid reports that Adam LaRoche and the Nationals “are at a stalemate” in contract negotiations Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun writes that the Orioles “have legitimate interest” in signing the free agent first baseman.
That makes on-field sense, as the Orioles have made it clear they’re looking to add another a good bat to the middle of the lineup, but signing LaRoche would require forfeiting their first-round pick. Adding that to the cost of actually signing him–which might be around $35 million for three years–and that’s an awfully big price to pay for a good but not great 32-year-old first baseman.
LaRoche hit .271 with 33 homers in 154 games this year, posting an .853 OPS that ranked seventh among the 24 first basemen with 400-plus plate appearances. His career OPS is .820 and he hasn’t cracked a .900 OPS since 2006. Baltimore is scheduled to pick 24th overall in June’s draft.
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.