Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail is reporting that the Royals and Blue Jays have discussed a trade involving first baseman-slash-DH Billy Butler. He clarifies that there has been no movement on a deal beyond the initial discussions, and adds that the Jays would receive prospects along with Butler in such a deal.
It’s no surprise that the Royals are making Butler available. He is entering what may be the final year of his contract, earning $8 million. The Royals have a club option worth $12.5 million, and Butler can tack on another $2 million based on performance incentives. Butler is only 27 years old and has a career .823 OPS so he will likely fetch a hefty contract once he hits the open market.
Dealing for Butler may first require the Jays to get rid of Adam Lind. Lind is 30 years old and will earn $7 million in 2014. His contract includes two club options for 2015 and ’16 worth $7.5 and $8 million, respectively. Lind had a bounce-back 2013 campaign after three seasons of mediocrity.
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.