Chris Carpenter “not very optimistic” about pitching this year

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Chris Carpenter experienced a setback in his rehab last week when the numbness in his hand returned and yesterday the Cardinals right-hander told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com that he’s “not very optimistic” about pitching this season.

And if that happens he will have thrown all of 31 innings for the Cardinals over the span of two full seasons, last pitching in Game 6 of the NLCS in October. Carpenter is an impending free agent and will be 39 years old next April, so not returning this season could mean never returning.

Carpenter hasn’t said a whole lot about his potential plans beyond 2013, but when asked about his status for 2014 he replied: “That’s a great question.”

Report: Orioles interested in Lance Lynn

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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.