With second base now off limits for a good decade or so, the Mariners have to be open to moving Dustin Ackley and/or Nick Franklin. According to CBS Sports.com’s Jon Heyman, the Mets, Padres and Yankees have already inquired about Ackley.
Ackley, the second overall pick in the 2009 draft, has hit a modest .245/.315/.354 in 1,324 major league at-bats, but he may have taken a step forward in the second half of last season, when he hit .304/.374/.435 in 184 at-bats. The Mariners were mostly using him a center fielder then, with Franklin starting at second. Overall, he made 49 starts at second, 46 in center and eight in left last season.
The Mets and Yankees, at least, would be looking at Ackley as a second baseman, it seems. The Mets are strongly considering trading Daniel Murphy, opening up the position for them, and the Yankees, of course, just lost Robinson Cano to the Mariners. The Padres might also use him at second if they trade Chase Headley and move Jedd Gyorko back to third.
The Mariners, though, could keep Ackley and continue to play him in the outfield. As is, they’re still looking for help out there; they’re still considering Nelson Cruz and they have some interest in re-signing Franklin Gutierrez. If the season started tomorrow, they’d probably have Michael Saunders, Ackley and either youngster Abraham Almonte or utilityman Willie Bloomquist starting.
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.