A year ago the Marlins hype was hard to avoid. A new ballpark, new uniforms, a bunch of high-profile signings. Yesterday was the Marlins Winter Warm Up event — formerly known as Fan Fest — and things are … different. From Joe Capozzi in the Palm Beach Post:
And while there was a festive atmosphere today at Marlins Park, the number of fans who attended the annual pre-season event was low. There were just three people in line at the main ticket window at 9:35 a.m. — 25 minutes before single-game tickets went on sale … And at least three people wore protest gear — two fans with anti-Loria shirts and a man who wore a Blue Jays cap to show his opposition to the trade.
Three people wearing protest gear is not the end of the world, obviously. And a lack of fans clamoring for Marlins tickets is not exactly a new phenomenon. But it’s hard to escape the fact that the events of the past year haven’t soured locals on the team more than they already were.
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.