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Could The Orioles Sign RHP Lance Lynn?

October 30, 2017
Throughout the next several weeks, we'll be looking at some prospective free agents the Orioles may be interested in. Not surprisingly, most of them are pitchers.

Lance Lynn
 
Vital stats: A 30-year-old right-hander, Lynn was 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA in 33 starts for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017. Lynn is 72-47 with a 3.38 ERA in six seasons with the Cardinals.
 
Orioles connection: None. Lynn is 1-1 with a 7.30 ERA in three games against the Orioles. The 6-foot-5, 280-pounder may be best remembered by Orioles fan for throwing the pitch that broke shortstop J.J. Hardy's wrist June 18.
 
Where would he fit? If the Orioles were able to sign Lynn, he would fit near the top of their rotation. Lynn would provide the veteran leadership young right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman need.
 
Why wouldn't he fit? Lynn is probably the best starter on the free-agent market's second tier, behind top-level free agents such as the Chicago Cubs' Jake Arrieta and Los Angeles Dodgers' Yu Darvish, which means he could command a salary far beyond what the Orioles are comfortable paying him.
 
Scouting report: "Love him. Recommended him highly to our club," one major league scout said. "Would be a plus for the Orioles."
 
Lynn, who missed the 2016 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, rebounded well this season and had a 1.229 WHIP, the lowest of his career.
 
While 14 of his 33 starts were fewer than six innings, only four were shorter than five innings.
 
Lynn has an extensive postseason resume, something most of the other free-agent pitchers are lacking. Lynn has 24 postseason appearances, seven of them starts.
 
The Cardinals qualified for the postseason in each of Lynn's first five seasons, and while he has a 4.50 ERA in October, experienced postseason pitchers are hard to find.
 
Like many other free-agent pitchers, Lynn may feel more comfortable in the National League, where he doesn't have to face a designated hitter, and the Cubs, in particular, will be looking for starting depth.
 
It will be interesting to see how active the Orioles are in the market for higher-end starters. In February 2014, the Orioles signed right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year, $50 million contract, and that obviously didn't go well.
 
Jimenez's contract was the largest and longest given to an outside free agent by the Orioles, and it would be surprising if they met or exceeded that for Lynn or anyone else.
 
Lynn is likely to have many suitors, and the Orioles have had the most success in the free-agent market when they've been able to isolate their target and minimize the competition for them.
 
According to the major league scout, Lynn has a reputation as a solid clubhouse guy and has even adopted a younger half-brother.
 
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