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Phillies trade Howie Kendrick to the Nationals

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The Phillies traded infielder/outfielder Howie Kendrick to the Nationals in exchange for minor league left-hander McKenzie Mills and international amateur signing bonus pool space, per a team announcement. The Nationals will also receive cash in the deal.

Kendrick, 34, was halfway through his first season in Philadelphia. When healthy, he showed promise, exhibiting a .340/.397/.454 batting line with 11 extra-base hits, eight stolen bases and an .851 OPS through 156 PA in 2017. It hasn’t been the smoothest run for the veteran infielder/outfielder, however, as he sustained a strained oblique muscle in early April and returned from the 10-day disabled list last week after rehabbing a right hamstring strain. He was benched during Friday’s series opener against the Braves after getting plunked on his left hand during Wednesday’s 9-0 shutout over the Astros.

The deal still appears to be a win-win for both Kendrick and the Phillies, with the former getting a potential shot at the playoffs and the latter shedding some infield/outfield depth in exchange for a solid lefty prospect. Mills, 21, was ranked No. 18 in the Nationals’ system this season and has impressed during his first Single-A run in 2017. He went 12-2 in 18 starts for Single-A Hagerstown and delivered a pristine 3.01 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 through 104 2/3 innings this season. While he reportedly profiles as a back-end starter, he’s still developing a well-rounded pitch repertoire and recent struggles in short-season ball suggest that his command could use some refinement before he reaches the majors.

Report: Orioles interested in Lance Lynn

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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.