Ricky Romero surrendered 17 hits, 10 walks and 11 runs in 13 innings this spring and was not on the Blue Jays’ active roster when camp broke. But his debut Saturday with the Jays’ affiliate in the Florida State League provided a glimmer of hope.
According to John Lott of the National Post, Romero allowed just one run over seven innings at High-A Dunedin, fanning four batters and issuing no walks. He has been working on mechanical tweaks for the past three weeks at extended spring training and it all seemed to pay off for him command-wise in his first start since the 2013 Grapefruit League came to a close.
The No. 6 overall pick in 2005, Romero registered an ace-like 2.92 ERA and 1.14 WHIP across 225 innings in 2011 for Toronto. But he then posted an ugly 5.77 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in 181 innings last year.
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.