After eight seasons in Philadelphia catcher Carlos Ruiz is on the verge of free agency and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. made it clear that the Phillies want to re-sign him, telling Todd Zolecki of MLB.com:
We’d like to bring him back. He knows we’d like to bring him back. We’ll see what happens. I’d like to have as much balance [in the lineup] as we can, we haven’t been very good against left-handers. It’s well documented.
New manager Ryne Sandberg also echoed those sentiments.
Ruiz missed the first 25 games of the season while serving a PED suspension and then struggled initially, but he’s been very good since August 1, hitting .299 with an .815 OPS in 42 games to approximate his 2010-2012 production of an .842 OPS. Age at 34 he seems unlikely to get any long-term offers on the open market, so Ruiz returning to Philadelphia on, say, a two-year could make sense for both sides.
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.