Minnesota just became a much more serious player in the American League Central with the reported signing of ex-Ole Miss standout Lance Lynn. The free agent right-hander reportedly has agreed to a 1-year deal in the $12 million range. Lynn is a warrior and a winner. In his time with St. Louis, he went 72-47 with a 3.38 ERA. He joins a Twins rotation that also includes Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi, who was jettisoned by Tampa Bay. Led primarily by the hitting of Southern Miss alum Brian Dozier, Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, the surprising Twins won 85 games and earned a wild card berth in 2017, a year after winning just 59 games. Many projections had them contending for the postseason again this season, and that was before adding Lynn. He didn’t get the big money he was hoping for after making $7.5M last year, so it figures he’ll be motivated.
The Detroit Tigers apparently like JaCoby Jones’ defense in the outfield. What the former Richton High star probably needs are more days like Friday with the bat to stick with the club out of spring training. Jones belted a three-run homer – his first in the Grapefruit League – against the New York Mets, going deep against big leaguer Hansel Robles. Jones is batting .412 (.706 slugging) with six RBIs in 17 spring at-bats. He was the Tigers’ opening day center fielder in 2017 but was hit in the face by a pitch early on and spent much of the rest of the season in the minors. The Tigers signed Leonys Martin to play center field in the off-season. Jones is now among the candidates to play left – or serve as a fourth outfielder. The ex-LSU standout, 25, has played in 69 MLB games over the last two years and batted .178 with three homers, 15 RBIs and six steals. Jones lists at 6 feet 2, 205 pounds and runs and throws well (he’s a former shortstop). But he’s gotta hit. P.S. Mississippi State product Mitch Moreland, whose at-bats may be limited in Boston this season now that J.D. Martinez is in the fold, took an 0-for-3 on Friday and is hitting .143 this spring. … Former Taylorsville High star Billy Hamilton went 0-for-2 for Cincinnati and is 0-for-18 on the spring. That’s got to be concerning for the Reds. … Ole Miss alum Mike Mayers, trying to nail down a bullpen job with St. Louis, threw two perfect innings with four strikeouts. He hasn’t allowed a run in seven innings and has fanned nine. He pitched very well in winter ball, as well.