This offseason the Nationals made Nate McLouth a very expensive fourth outfielder by signing him to a two-year, $10.75 million deal, but he’s hit just .173 in limited playing time and now he’s on the disabled list.
McLouth has been shut down with right shoulder inflammation and according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post he’s been playing through it “for much of the season, an ailment the Nationals and McLouth kept private.”
Add another name to the ever-expanding list of playing through injuries working out poorly.
To replace McLouth on the roster the Nationals called up Steven Souza Jr., who’s had a monster season at Triple-A by hitting .354 with 18 homers and a 1.036 OPS. While not considered a top prospect at age 25, he also put up strong numbers in 2012 and 2013 and can play all over the diamond defensively.
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.