Out since mid-May with a fractured hand, Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong is expected to come off the disabled list and pitch Friday against the Orioles.
Even before the injury Vogelsong’s rotation spot may have been in jeopardy because he posted a 7.09 ERA in nine starts, so it’ll be interesting to see how much patience the Giants show if he struggles initially. He’s essentially taking over Barry Zito’s spot after the highly paid left-hander was bumped from the rotation over the weekend.
Vogelsong had a 1.72 ERA in four minor-league rehab starts to convince the Giants he was ready to return. He had a combined 3.05 ERA in 2011 and 2012, but at age 35 he may need a good stretch run for the Giants to pick up their $6.25 million option for 2014.
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.