Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has a follow-up to A.J. Burnett signing a one-year, $16 million deal with the Phillies, reporting that the free agent right-hander turned down a one-year, $12 million deal from the Pirates.
At the beginning of the offseason Pittsburgh chose not to make Burnett a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer that would have fetched them draft pick compensation if he signed elsewhere (and likely driven down his market value). And then they failed to match the Phillies’ offer, choosing to let Burnett walk over $4 million after he threw 393 innings with a 3.41 ERA for the Pirates during the past two seasons.
Instead they’ll save money and put a lot of faith in guys like Wandy Rodriguez, Charlie Morton, and Edinson Volquez to fill out the rotation behind Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole, who’s suddenly the No. 2 starter at age 23.
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.