Why The Orioles And Lohse Make Sense
Posted by kholland13
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Saturday February 16, 2013
By Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Writer): Follow @TheKHolland13
2012 was a career year for the Cardinals’ RHP Kyle Lohse. At Age 34, Lohse has become one of the most inconsistent pitchers in the game of baseball. Since making his debut in 2001 at 21 years old with the Minnesota Twins, Lohse has had some stellar years, and some not-so-great years. This includes a 2008 season – where he went 15-6 with a 3.78 ERA. He followed that great season with ugly 2009 finishing 6-10 while posting a 4.74 ERA.
In 2012, Lohse turned back to his ace pitching ways. Coming off a solid 2011 season – with a 14-8 record, it didn’t look like Lohse could improve too much. He proved everyone wrong and pitched his way to a 16-3 record. His .842 W-L% lead the National League – while his 2.86 ERA wound up eighth in all of the Majors.
Why the Cardinals will not sign Kyle Lohse:
While Lohse was turning heads on the mound, the Baltimore Orioles were turning heads in all of baseball. Even though the Orioles proved that they can compete in the AL East, their pitching staff quite frankly wasn’t the greatest. Their season total combined ERA was a 3.90. To put this into perspective, all of the 3 other teams in the ALDS had a lower ERA than this. The Yankees posted a 3.85 ERA, the Tigers a 3.75 ERA, and the A’s had the lowest putting up a combined 3.48 ERA. The Orioles 3.90 was pretty average as it ranked 14th in all of baseball, but between the 8 teams that made the LDS, it was the highest.
So what do the Orioles need to do to complete their pitching staff? You guessed it. The Orioles should sign Free-Agent Kyle Lohse.
The Orioles drove through 12 Starting Pitchers last summer with only one starting over 20 games – and two starting exactly 20 games. There are definitely some inconsistencies in their rotation. Wei-Yin Chen is that one pitcher that pitched over 20 games, and in fact he started 32 games. His 12 Wins led the team – and that is by no means overwhelming. With 2012 being his rookie season, he has no way proven himself to be an ace. In the future will he? He certainly has the talent to be one. But right now the Orioles should be in search of a pitcher that has already proven himself to be an ace. 12 Wins is certainly impressive, especially for a rookie, but that’s overshadowing his 11 Losses. Chen also led the team with a 4.02 ERA. An ace of a squad’s ERA shouldn’t be that high. Still a solid ERA, but not ace worthy, yet.
The fact that Lohse has yet to sign this winter is surprising to everyone. After he came in 7th in Cy Young Award voting he was considered one of the best pitchers available in the Free Agent Market. Teams originally interested in Lohse included the Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, and the Milwaukee Brewers. With him being unsigned, there has been speculation that Lohse could end up on the Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, and yes, the Baltimore Orioles. His agent, Scott Boras, has tried to persuade the Angels to offer Lohse a contract – but they don’t seem to be budging.
In a league like the AL East, the Orioles need to do anything possible to sign Lohse. What they need to do is make the Red Sox regret not pushing to sign him. The Rays and Yankees are going to be just as good as they were last year. The Rays even received one of the Top Prospects with their recent acquisition of Super – Offensive prospect Wil Myers. He’s sure to be on the big league squad by at least mid-May. The Red Sox are looking for a bounce back year – and have made some moves this offseason to make that happen, including signing a new Manager, John Farrell, and a new Closer, Joel Hanrahan. The team from up North improved their team significantly this winter too. The Blue Jays biggest move was acquiring reigning NL Cy Young Award winning R.A. Dickey. The club also signed the last two NL Batting leaders in Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera.
The Yankees have ace CC Sabathia, the Red Sox have Jon Lester (although he did not act like it in 2011-2012), the Blue Jays have Josh Johnson and the Rays have reigning AL Cy Young Award winner David Price. All of the teams in the division have guys that are aces now – or have had distinguished careers. The other competitive teams in the AL also have true #1 starters. The Tigers have Justin Verlander, the Angels have Jared Weaver, the Rangers have Yu Darvish. The White Sox have Chris Sale and Jake Peavy. The Mariners have Felix Hernandez. The Athletics don’t really have an ace, although their entire staff is collectively amongst the best. The Orioles need to add to their pitching depth! The odds of them duplicating all of those Extra-Inning games and 1 run contests with wins from 2012 is highly improbable. They must act like the Blue Jays – in taking advantage of the Boston Red Sox having some lean years – while the Yankees are headed into old age and fiscal restraints in the next few seasons.
Right now the Orioles signing Lohse to a deal would be exciting for both sides. On one side you get the Orioles looking for an ace of their squad. On the other you have Kyle Lohse looking for a city where he can be the ace. This signing would also take a big pressure off of Starting Pitchers Chris Tillman – and would mean they could push the Major League Service clock back on young phenom Dylan Bundy. They could bring him up after a few months to effectively cap his Innings Pitched if Lohse could log some of the work for the starting staff.
Even though Spring Training is already underway, and games will be starting soon enough, Lohse could still be making a good chunk of change. Scott Boras has proved in the past that he can get players a lot of cash no matter how close to Opening Day it is. Boras is going to take his time to get Lohse the best deal possible at this point in time, and right now the Orioles need to do anything to make sure they sign him.
Lohse could receive a Multi-year deal worth a good amount. The Orioles should keep a 4 YR/$60,000,000-like deal in the back of their minds. To protect the team a little, they could even see a 2 YR Deal (2013-2014) worth 26-30 Million – with 2 Years worth of (2015 and 2016) Vesting Options that would include Innings Pitched of 400 combined IP in 2013 and 2014… Or the club could put two Team Options for $15 Million per year – in 2015 and 2016, to make up the difference, plus allocate about a $4 Million Dollar Buyout after 2015 – if the Orioles decline to pick up the remainder of the contract. If Lohse throws well, 200 IP will accompany a lot of good games thrown. Get creative Orioles! You can always trade some of your other young pitchers! The Orioles could prove to be a force-to-be-reckoned with in the mighty AL East and show that their 2012 Cinderella story was not a fluke by any means.
(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)
A big thank-you goes out to our Baseball Writer Kyle Holland for preparing today’s featured article. Kyle is a life long baseball fan outside of Boston. He is a sophomore in high school has played baseball since he was 5. Although growing up in one of the best baseball towns in the major leagues, he has been a Giants fan since 2009. He credits his aunt with the Giants being his favorite team as she lives in San Francisco. Some of his favorite players include Buster Posey, Stephen Drew, Trevor Bauer, Stephen Strasburg, and Minor Leaguer Danny Hultzen. You can find Kyle on Twitter Follow @TheKHolland13
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Posted on February 16, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 2011 World Series, 2012 ALDS, 2012 Cy Young Award, 2012 nlcs, 2012-13 offseason, AL East, anaheim angels, baltimore orioles, boston red sox, cc sabathia, chicago cubs, chicago white sox, chris sale, chris tillman, cleveland indians, david price, detroit tigers, dylan bundy, felix hernandez, joel hanrahan, john farrell, jon lester, jose reyes, josh johnson, justin verlander, kyle lohse, melky cabrera, milwaukee brewers, Minnesota, minnesota twins, national league win percentage leader pitching 2012, new york yankees, nl batting champions, oakland athletics, r.a. dickey, remaining free agents, san diego padres, scott boras, seattle mariners, st louis cardinals, tampa bay rays, toronto blue jays, washington nationals, wei-yin chen. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.