This was suspected from the moment the season ended, but Reds GM Walt Jocketty has made it official: speedster Billy Hamilton will be moving to center field and will be playing at Triple-A Louisville in 2013.
Hamilton made more headlines than your average Single-A and Double-A player usually does in 2012 thanks to his stealing an astounding 155 bases. Still, he doesn’t have a position with Zack Cozart at short and, with Shin-Soo Choo patrolling center field in his final year before hitting free agency, center field is his ticket to the bigs.
As is hitting. He posted a .410 OBP in 2012, which is fantastic. And if he keeps that up by continuing to walk and continuing to beat out almost everything hit on the ground to the infield, he may be in Cincinnati sooner than 2014.
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.