Andrew McCutchen entered tonight’s game against the Cardinals hitting just .235, including .105 in his previous five games, but you don’t expect the Pirates’ star to be subbed out in a fifth-inning double-switch. But that’s exactly what acting manager Jeff Bannister did when he approached home plate umpire Tim Timmons with his lineup card.
Starling Marte moved from center to left, Jared Hughes came into relieve and take McCutchen’s spot at #3 in the order, and Jose Tabata took over in center. McCutchen was visibly displeased with the decision as he very slowly walked off the field, staring blankly ahead.
McCutchen had gone 0-for-3, leaving four runners on base and lowering his batting average on the season to .226.
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.