As a result of playing in American League organizations throughout his career, up until last year, Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery never took a plate appearance in the minor leagues. He pitched one inter-league game against the Padres in 2015, taking three PA, then joined the Cubs last July in a trade. He started in the bullpen, but eventually moved to the rotation for five starts before going back to the ‘pen. He took 11 plate appearances. And this season, he took 16 trips to the plate. For those of you counting at home, that’s 30 total plate appearances for Montgomery, who began his professional career in 2008.
Despite the relative lack of experience in the batter’s box, Montgomery still nailed his first career home run in the fifth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Braves. Ahead in the count 2-0, Montgomery absolutely crushed a 79 MPH knuckleball from R.A. Dickey to the Chop House deck in right field at Sun Trust Park, boosting the Cubs’ lead to 2-0.
On the pitching side of things, Montgomery held the Braves to one run on two hits and a walk with five strikeouts over six innings. The Cubs went on to win 8-2, remaining undefeated since the All-Star break.
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.