Now that Ryan Zimmerman is ready to come off the disabled list the Nationals are sending 22-year-old Anthony Rendon back to the minors.
Rendon started eight games at third base in place of Zimmerman and got on base at a .367 clip despite showing little power. Because of injuries Rendon played a grand total of just 57 games in the minors before getting his first taste of the majors, but the former No. 6 overall pick looks just about MLB-ready.
The problem is that he’s a third baseman and Zimmerman is signed through 2019. Rendon has also seen a little action at second base, but it’s unclear if the Nationals would trust him defensively as a regular there and they also have a solid enough starter at the position in 26-year-old Danny Espinosa.
But if Zimmerman stays healthy and the Nationals don’t trade Rendon, where does he fit into their plans? Rendon hit .292 with a .454 on-base percentage in 13 games at Double-A before being summoned to fill in for Zimmerman and Espinosa is off to a brutal, .173-hitting start, so maybe the dots aren’t that difficult to connect.
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.