Pablo Sandoval‘s reunion with the Giants hasn’t gone as either side expected. Sandoval was cast off after a tumultuous and unproductive tenure with the Red Sox and returned to San Francisco, the team with which he won three World Series and garnered an enthusiastic fan base. Unfortunately, he’s hit even worse with the Giants (.505 OPS) than he did with the Red Sox (.622).
Even worse, Sandoval entered Wednesday night’s game against the Rockies hitless in his last 37 at-bats. With one more hitless at-bat, he’d set a new Giants record. Sandoval pinch-hit for starter Johnny Cueto to lead off the top of the sixth and was called out on strikes against reliever Jeff Hoffman, making him the official record-holder. Sandoval’s last hit came on August 25 when he singled against Diamondbacks starter Zack Greinke in the fifth inning.
Sandoval’s overall stats on the season aren’t pretty. Between both teams, he’s slashing .199/.257/.303 with five home runs, 16 RBI, and 21 runs scored in 218 plate appearances. At -1.0 WAR, according to FanGraphs, only five players have been less productive (min. 200 PA): Albert Pujols (-1.5), Carlos Gonzalez (-1.2), Trevor Plouffe (-1.2), Tommy Joseph (-1.1), and Victor Martinez (-1.1). Yikes.
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.