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Three-time All-Star Lee May dies at age 74

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Sad news: Lee May, the three-time All-Star who played for the Reds, Astros, Orioles and Royals, has died. He was 74.

May broke into the big leagues with the Reds in 1965. He’s spend seven seasons in Cincy, where he hit .274/.321/.490 and 147 of his 354 career homers. His peak years came in Cincy as well where, between 1968 and 1971, he hit .275/.324/.503 with 132 homers and 382 RBI in that four season span. His Reds won the pennant in 1970 and May hit .389/.450/.833 in a losing cause in the 1970 Fall Classic.

May was famously traded to the Astros before the 1972 season in a blockbuster deal: he, Tommy Helms and Jimmy Stewart went to Houston in exchange for Eddie Armbrister, Jack Billingham, Cesar Geronimo, Denis Menke and future Hall of Famer Joe Morgan. While this deal was certainly won by the Reds — Morgan would win two MVP awards in Cincinnati and he, Geronimo and Billingham would serve as key components of three-time pennant-winning and two-time World Series champion Big Red Machine — May continued his fine slugging in Houston, hitting 88 homers and driving in 288 runs in the next three seasons. He’d slug well for a solid decade, actually: between 1969 and 1978, only Reggie Jackson, Johnny Bench, and Willie Stargell out-homered him.

May was dealt to Baltimore before the 1975 season. While with the Orioles he completed the final four years of his 11-season streak in which he hit 20 homers or more. His Orioles would win 90 or more games in five of his six seasons and 88 games in the other. Twice his Orioles teams won 100 games. May would see action in the 1979 World Series, but not much. By then May had been supplanted at first base by a young Eddie Murray, with May serving mostly as as designated hitter. Back in those days the DH was only present in the World Series on an alternating year basis, no matter the home team, so May would only pinch hit.

Mat would play his final two seasons as a part timer with the Royals, retiring after the 1982 season. He’d stay with the Royals as their hitting coach, however, and finally got that elusive World Series ring in 1985.

Rest in Peace, Lee May.

 

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.