Reds sign right-hander Clay Hensley to a minor league contract

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The Reds announced late this afternoon that they have signed reliever Clay Hensley to a minor league contract. The deal includes an invite to spring training.

Hensley posted a 4.62 ERA and 42/30 K/BB ratio over 50 2/3 innings last season out of the Giants’ bullpen. The 33-year-old right-hander actually had a 2.95 ERA as late as August 2, but then struggled through a groin injury and was left off the team’s postseason roster. He averaged just 85.5 mph on his fastball, a three mph drop-off from where he was when he had a 2.95 ERA with the Marlins in 2010.

The Reds already have a pretty full bullpen, so a lot of things will have to go Hensley’s way for him to make the Opening Day roster.

Report: Orioles interested in Lance Lynn

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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.