Good news tonight out of Cubs camp in Arizona.
According to CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, right-hander Matt Garza has been cleared to resume his throwing program on Thursday. Garza had been idle for a couple weeks with a mild lat strain.
He’ll probably start off with flat-ground tosses before eventually graduating back to mound work. The 29-year-old should be ready to make his Cactus League debut around the middle of March and still has a chance to be on the active roster on Opening Day.
Garza registered a solid 3.91 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 96/32 K/BB ratio over 103 2/3 innings last season for Chicago. He missed a large chunk of time with a stress reaction in his elbow, but that is a non-issue now.
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.