For a guy who, just a few days ago, people were assuming could be dumped to another team, Matt Kemp has been pretty important to the Dodgers of late. On Tuesday night he blasted two homers against the Braves. Last night he hit another homer and then, in the 10th inning, did this:
Since the All-Star break, Kemp is hitting .436/.522/.744 with three homers, 11 RBI and seven walks. While his position is still up in the air — he’s playing right field at the moment, though he wants to be in center — his place in the lineup is becoming far less of a concern.
The Dodgers may still try to trade Kemp at some point. It would make long term sense for the team to do so. But that point may be this winter. Hopefully, for the Dodgers’ sake, after a second half in which he reestablishes his value as a to player.
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.