On Saturday, the Pirates brought back utilityman Sean Rodriguez in a trade with the Braves. Rodriguez spent the 2015-16 seasons with the Pirates, having the best year of his career in ’16 as he finished with a .270/.349/.510 triple-slash line across 342 plate appearances.
Rodriguez didn’t start in Sunday’s game against the Padres, but he did enter the game as a second baseman in the top of the eighth inning as part of a double-switch. He grounded out in his first at-bat, ending the bottom of the ninth inning with the game tied 4-4. Rodriguez came back to the plate to lead off the bottom of the 12th against reliever Buddy Baumann. With a 1-1 count, Rodriguez pulled a 90 MPH fastball into the left field seats for a walk-off solo home run.
It’s been a tough year for Rodriguez. He, his wife, and two of his children were involved in an SUV accident in late January. Rodriguez suffered a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder, which was expected to keep him out all season, but he returned on July 17.
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.