Why The Orioles And Lohse Make Sense

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Saturday February 16, 2013

Lohse has had an up-and-down career since making his debut in 2001. He has bounced around cities and has experienced some good seasons, and some less than impressive seasons. He was a big part in the middle of the rotation during their 2011 World Series run finishing 14-8 while posting a 3.39 ERA.

Lohse has had an up-and-down career since making his debut in 2001. He has bounced around cities and has experienced some good seasons, also with  some less than impressive seasons. He was a big part in the middle of the Cardinals rotation during their 2011 World Series run – finishing 14-8 while posting a 3.39 ERA.

By Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Writer):

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:

2012 was a career year for Lohse finishing 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA while finishing 7th in the Cy Young Award voting. He can improve any team's pitching staff if he can consistently pitch like this year-to-year.

2012 was a career year for Lohse finishing 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA while finishing 7th in the Cy Young Award voting. He can improve any team’s pitching staff if he can consistently pitch like this year-to-year.

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.

Kyle Lohse was 55-35 (.611) during the last 5 years for the St. Louis Cardinals.  He also is a playoff veteran having pitched in 6 playoff series in the last 2 years.

Kyle Lohse was 55-35 (.611) during the last 5 years for the St. Louis Cardinals – including 32-11 in the last 2 years. He also is a playoff veteran having pitched in 6 playoff series in 2011 and 2012.  He is 118-109 for his Career with a 4.45 ERA.

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.

If the Orioles can manage to sign Lohse it will be a major upgrade to their pitching rotation. If Lohse becomes the ace of the staff then he can have Chen right behind him in the 2 slot. If Chen continues to pitch like his rookie season, then Lohse and Chen back-to-back could be dangerous in the AL East

If the Orioles can manage to sign Lohse it will be a major upgrade to their pitching rotation. If Lohse becomes the ace of the staff then he can have Chen right behind him in the 2 slot. If Chen continues to pitch like his rookie season, then Lohse and Chen back-to-back could be dangerous in the AL East.  Baltimore is projected to have a Payroll of 90-100 Million Dollars and could easily afford to add the 13-16 Million Dollars it would take to sign the veteran for this upcoming year.

(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

a kyle holland

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 PoseyStephen DrewTrevor BauerStephen Strasburg, and Minor Leaguer Danny HultzenYou can find Kyle on Twitter 

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Posted on February 16, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. It does make a lot of sense for the Orioles to get Lohse I completely agree. The new qualifying offer system that attaches a 1st round pick (top 10 protected) to signing a player who received a qualifying offer is rough on guys like Lohse. Obviously he’s worth 1yr/13mil to the Cardinals, but he should be able to go out and get a 3-4 yr deal for that money, but losing a draft pick on top of dishing out that kind of money isn’t as appealing to clubs. Look at the Red Sox who pretty much fed on all the best free agents that wouldn’t cost them a pick. Teams value top picks a lot these days. Anyway he would be perfect because the Orioles rotation is their clear weak link. They have a solid lineup, and they actually have a really good bullpen too. Bundy and Gausman’s arrival will be a HUGE help, but they aren’t quite ready. I hope they sign him soon, spring training is among us!

  2. Birds on the Wire

    Horrible idea, especially at $60m for 4 yrs for a 34 yr old coming off a career year. You never pay for a career year…a Boras client at that. Plus he would cost a high draft pick. The Orioles have Hammel as their ace, who is conveniently left out of the article to fit the author’s narrative. Tillman’s second half suggests he has ace potential as well. There are literally 8 arms vying for 5 spots down in Sarasota as we speak. There is absolutely no reason to tie up so much money, potentially hamstringing the team from signing a future impact bat. Pitching without a beloved “ace” didn’t seem to keep them from winning 93 games last year!

    • First off, thank-you for commenting. I highly disagree with you that the Orioles have an ace. The Orioles had every break last year with extra-inning games and 1 run ball games. With Toronto beefing up with 3 starters, plus the incredible aces of the top AL Teams, it is imperative that Baltimore adds pitching. Signing Lohse to this money it not a horrific idea by any stretch of the imagination. You need a veteran to help take the burden off of the young staff. The 8 pitchers vying for all of those spots have less than stellar Career Records. You can always use them for trade chips if you want to. Losing a 1st Round Draft Pick maybe a steep price – but it the cost of doing business. The Orioles would be foolish to wait any longer to stay competing near the top of the AL East. The Yankees are only going to be down for a year or 2 before they spend their way out of trouble. The Red Sox will always spend every available dollar to keep up. A Draft pick doesn’t help you right now where Lohse would. The going rate for FA Starting Pitchers was set this year by the likes of Anibal Sanchez, Ryan Dempster and Edwin Jackson. Lohse has certainly been better than any of those gentlemen the last 2 years (30-11) with a SUB 3.00 ERA. He also has experience in the Post Season. As for your Jason Hammel comment, the man is 42-51 with a 4.78 Career ERA – exactly how does that constitute an ace? I do agree that Tillman has ace-like potential, but half of a season is a small sample size. I guess we will agree to disagree.

    • Please explain to me how Jason Hammel can be considered an Ace. Also if they were paying for a career year don’t you think he would be getting more than 4yrs $60mil since he pitched better than Anibal Sanchez last season who just got 5yrs $80mil? Being a Boras client is just an overused, cliched, taboo that people throw around. The draft pick is a high price yes because there is a potential top talent to be had, but more importantly it would cut into the Orioles draft pool allotment of money. While the Orioles had a great year without an ace, did they win the World Series? No, and that’s the ultimate goal. The Orioles might be better suited to give him 3yrs at that per annual salary, but it was just a figure thrown out there. Getting Lohse does make sense, in many regards.

  3. I don’t think the O’s should get him either. Not for 4 years/ 60 mil. If you can get him to do a 1 or 2 year deal then MAYBE. But remember, pitching in the NL is easier than the AL. I’m not sold he can come into the AL East and be any better than Hammel, Chen, Gonzo, or Tillman, so why overpay for his services? We didn’t make a big splash in the offseason and I don’t see them starting now. If Jurrgens regains form (early reports are he looks healthy) then we’ll have a solid starting 5 with guys like Britton, Arrieta and Matusz available if we need them.

    • That is a good point about Jurrjens. He actually has a track record of being really good, and they are buying low on him so it is a good low risk high reward sign, especially since it’s only a minor league deal. As far as the one or two year deal, I think a one year deal a lot of teams would do because you can get his (Lohse’s) services for a year and then turn around and make him a qualifying offer again next year and recoup the pick, although he would need to have a decent year for that to work. I think the O’s signing Lohse is not necessary, but would be an aggressive move that could pay off. The Orioles have too many mediocre starters, and Lohse is a better option. He’s going to sign somewhere, and the Orioles are one of the contenders with the biggest need for top line starters, which I feel Lohse is. He might not be an Ace to most teams, but on the O’s he’d be their 1 and most teams he’d be at least a top 3. I don’t know what happens behind the scenes, but I could easily see the market for Lohse forcing him to take a 2-3 yr deal.

  4. a26b25@hotmail.com

    There is no market for Lohse. The Orioles would be bidding against no one. It might not be a bad idea for the O’s to sign him if it doesn’t mess with the development of young pitchers. However, he will definitely not repeat his career year again at 34 and going into the AL East he will get hit hard.

    They should offer him a 1 year contract with an optiion because:

    1. He’s old
    2. They don;t need to pay more than that
    3. They need him gone soon so the young guys can pitch
    4. He won;t be nearly as effective in the AL East

  5. 4 years and 60 million for Lohse seems like a sure loser for the Orioles. Even a high salary of 25 million or 30 million (crazy talk) just seems like a vast overpay, especially considering a draft pick must be given up.

  6. Kyle Lohse signing with the O’s doesn’t make sense for a number of reasons.

    First, Lohse just posted a career season that doesn’t match up with any other season’s worth of stats in his 12-year career. He bettered his single-season ERA best by over a half a run and his best WHIP at the same time. In addition, his ERA in 2012 was more than a run and a half better than his career ERA — 2.86 vs. 4.45. There’s nothing in his history that indicates he’ll sustain this success after changing teams and leagues. I would not want to shell out anything approaching $15 million a year for a starter that has never duplicated what he did in the most recent season.

    Second, while you kinda knock Wei Yin Chen’s numbers last year as a rookie (4.02 ERA in 32 games), guess what Lohse’s numbers against the rest of the AL East teams are — 4.01 ERA in 17 games. Doesn’t look like much of a difference to me.

    Third, the O’s would have to surrender their first round pick. For a team that’s spent the last decade with a barren farm system, it’s a little soon to be dumping draft picks for a free agent signing that is far from a guaranteed winner.

    Finally, I’ll take my chances with Buck Showalter and Rick Adair finding a way to squeeze 162 starts out of the pitchers they have. Hammel and Chen are guaranteed to return to the rotation. After that the O’s need to find three regular starters out of Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman, Dylan Bundy, Steve Johnson, Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, and possibly even Kevin Gausman or Brian Matusz (rather see him in the pen). I’ll take my chances the starters the O’s need are already on the roster, save the $15 million per, and the first round draft pick thank you very much.

  7. I think people are harping on the 4yrs $60mil that was thrown out there too much. With that aside why isn’t Lohse a fit for the Orioles. No one wants to give up a draft pick, but is that really going to hold up signing a major league starter? Draft picks are not a sure thing, and the O’s are picking 23, and while there are certainly a lot of good available players there, it’s not a sure thing. No draft pick is really a sure thing. While Lohse had a career year in ’12, his ’11 was also a very good year, so as ridiculous as it may sound, maybe he finally figured some things out into his 30’s and will be at least the pitcher he was in ’11 again. Also I just want to add that I heard someone say Cleveland was a good landing spot for him. I think Baltimore is a realistic fit, but Cleveland could use another starter and would only have to give up a 3rd round pick to sign him. They’ve already spent a lot of money though so I don’t know how much more they’d be willing to spend.

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