The Rangers announced this afternoon that they have re-signed right-hander Colby Lewis to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training. Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports that he’d make $2 million if he makes the Rangers and could earn an addition $4 million with incentives.
Lewis hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since July 18, 2012, after which he required surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow. The 34-year-old encountered multiple setbacks while attempting to rehab this year and was ultimately shut down to undergo season-ending hip surgery.
Lewis posted a 3.93 ERA and averaged 8.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 80 starts from 2010-2012, so this is a low-risk/high-reward situation for Texas. He’s far from a guarantee to be healthy and effective in the spring, but the Rangers could have the option to keep Alexi Ogando in the bullpen if Lewis locks down a rotation spot.
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.