As expected the Red Sox activated Joel Hanrahan from the disabled list after the reliever missed the past two weeks with a hamstring injury.
Hanrahan was the Red Sox’s closer at the time of the injury, but fill-in Andrew Bailey has converted five straight save chances and has a 1.46 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 12 innings overall, so not surprisingly manager John Farrell has indicated that Bailey will retain ninth-inning duties for now.
When healthy Bailey was a fantastic closer for the A’s from 2009-2011 and before the hamstring injury Hanrahan was struggling with a 11.57 ERA and more walks than strikeouts in six appearances. So whether the Red Sox plan to eventually give Hanrahan another crack at the closer job or not sticking with Bailey in the short term makes plenty of sense.
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.