Closer Koji Uehara has been Mr. Dependable for the Red Sox all year long and he’s finally been rewarded for it. Not only does he get to pitch in the World Series, he will go home tonight with some hardware, earning MVP of the ALCS for a sterling effort, notching three saves in as many opportunities and earning a win while striking out nine and walking none in six innings of work.
During the ALDS, Uehara earned two saves and lost one game, allowing one run in three innings of work while striking our four and walking one.
During the regular season, Uehara finished with a 1.09 ERA and some incredible strikeout and walk numbers. His 11.22 strikeout-to-walk ratio was far ahead of second-place Edward Mujica’s 9.2. His 38.1% strikeout rate ranked third among all relievers, trailing only Aroldis Chapman and Greg Holland. His 3.4% walk rate was also third-best among all relievers, trailing Mujica and Mark Melancon.
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.