Jeremy Hellickson is scheduled to come off the disabled list and rejoin the Rays’ rotation on June 27, but the right-hander’s second minor-league rehab start was sort of a mess yesterday.
Hellickson, who’s coming back from arthroscopic elbow surgery in February, lasted just 2.1 innings while allowing four runs on six hits at Triple-A. He threw just 55 pitches, so regardless of the quality of his performance the Rays may decide he needs more than one additional start before being fully stretched out.
Hellickson won the Rookie of the Year award in 2011 and followed that up with a similarly strong 2012 season, but last year he posted a 5.17 ERA in 174 innings while opponents slugged .450 off him.
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.