Tim Hudson was, quite obviously, placed on the disabled list this morning. Paul Maholm is getting DL’d too. With their two eldest starting pitchers going down, do the Braves need some rotation help?
Not necessarily. Brandon Beachy is done with his rehab assignment and is coming back, so he’ll fill a slot. Alex Wood, who made an emergency start in a double header earlier this season, will fill in for a while until Maholm is back. Wood has been solid in relief in the bigs so far this year and has a 1.31 ERA in 11 minor league starts this year. With a nice cushion in what is turning out to be a weak NL East, it’s worth it for the Braves to see what each of those guys have before running out and getting a starter.
Best case scenario: both Wood and Beachy are solid starters down the stretch and Atlanta has six starters for five slots once Maholm returns. Next best: one of them is good and the Braves still have a full rotation. Next best after that: only one of the three between Maholm, Wood and Beachy can cut it and, while it makes for a less-than-ideal couple of months, the playoff rotation is good to go. For them to really be in trouble requires all three of them to either stink, be unhealthy or all three.
Obviously you’d rather have Tim Hudson around, and given the Braves’ historic caution as an organization it wouldn’t surprise me if they went out and at least tried to get a starter. But I don’t think it’s absolutely imperative.
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.