I’m not calling any race yet because it feels like every time I call a race or, at the very least, count a team out, they go on some run and make me look dumb. The 2010 Giants were the best/worst ever in this regard. I actually had to wear a Giants shirt and cap on an HBT Daily video as a monument to my wrongness.
But even if I won’t make definitive calls like that, I will lean hard on the notion that a given team is in a Goose-level flatspin. The Phillies sorta feel that way to me now. Could they surprise? Sure. I just don’t see what could change to make that happen.
Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com gives me even greater reason to doubt today, noting that no team with a run differential as bad as the Phillies’ at this point (-58) has ever made the playoffs.
Seven and a half games isn’t an insurmountable hill to climb. But the bones of this team have caused it to be outscored by an awful lot, and it’s hard to see how that dynamic changes any time soon.
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.