According to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, new Diamondbacks pitcher Taijuan Walker said he was dealing with 10 bone spurs in his right foot, which impacted his ability to push off and use his lower body. The biggest bone spur was three-fourths of an inch in size, Gilbert adds.
Moving from the more pitcher-friendly Safeco Field in Seattle to the more hitter-friendly Chase Field in Arizona, Walker said he plans to add a two-seam fastball in an attempt to keep the ball on the ground. The 24-year-old last season allowed 27 home runs in 134 1/3 innings. As a percentage of fly balls, his 17.6 percent home run rate was eighth-highest among pitchers who logged at least 130 innings. Despite the home run issues, Walker did manage to keep his ERA at 4.22 while averaging better than three strikeouts for every one walk. If he’s able to tamp down the homers, it will be interesting to see if he can live up to his potential with the Diamondbacks.
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.