Kyle Lohse Rumors

NL Notes: Garland, Cook, Puig, Brewers, Soriano

Making his first start in a Rockies uniform tonight, recently-signed Jon Garland made such an impression with his groundball-inducing ways that the club tweeted his groundout to flyout ratio (2.5:1) through five innings. 

  • Garland has substantial incentives in his contract with the Rockies that could raise its total value to $3.1MM, explains Troy Renck of the Denver Post. In addition to his base $500k deal, which will fully vest if he stays on the 25-man roster for 45 days, Garland can earn up to $1.35MM for innings pitched (the pay starts at 105 IP and increases up to 195 IP) and up to $1.25MM for starts made (with the incentives kicking in at 20 starts and continuing to 32 starts). 
  • The Rockies are expected to consider the possibility of inking righty Aaron Cook, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweeted earlier today. Cook, who was released earlier today by the Phillies, is (like Garland) known as a groundball artist.
  • In spite of being sent to Double-A today by the Dodgers, Yasiel Puig has been so impressive that he may enable the club to effectively buy even more young talent from other clubs, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. As Rosenthal explains, if L.A. is able to replace either Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier with Puig, they could then offer to pay for much of the balance of the contracts of those expensive veterans to extract quality prospects from a trade partner. According to an unnamed rival executive, "It's smart actually — the only way to really build a farm system under the new rules. And you can only do it if you've got big dollars."
  • The Kyle Lohse signing was a substantial investment for the Brewers at three years and $33MM, but owner Mark Attanasio says that it will not prevent the club from "being able to make another move," reports Rosenthal. In particular, Attanasio expects to be in a position to re-sign first-baseman Corey Hart, who falls just outside the top 10 anticipated 2014 free agents in MLBTR's TIm Dierkes's 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings. While the Brewers sought to add to their rotation without losing a draft pick when they made an offer to Ryan Dempster before he joined the Red Sox for two years and $26.5MM, Attanasio explained that, "at the time we made the Dempster decision, we thought Kyle would go at a higher price." Finally, Rosenthal notes that Lohse can earn three separate paydays totalling an additional $1MM for reaching 190 innings pitched over each of the next three seasons.
  • Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano has been a popular topic of trade speculation, with the presumption being that Chicago would try to get whatever prospects and/or salary relief it could. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders, however, whether Soriano is now too valuable for the team to consider dealing. For his part, Soriano raves about the team's new front office and coaching staff, explaining how they changed the culture from one in which he felt singled out for the team's failings to one in which, "if we lost, we lost like a team; if we won, we won like a team."

Kyle Lohse Signing Reactions

Kyle Lohse's long winter ended yesterday, as the 34-year-old righty signed a three-year, $33MM deal with the Brewers.  According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Lohse will receive $4MM in 2013, with $7MM deferred in 2016-18, and $11MM salaries in '14 and '15.  The players' union values the Lohse deal at $31.95MM over three years, factoring in the deferred money, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The Brewers also had to surrender the 17th overall pick in the June draft, while the Cardinals gained the 28th for their loss.  Lohse has been throwing bullpens and simulated games, and will begin the season on the Brewers' active roster.  Let's check out some Lohse reactions and links:

  • Olney doesn't think the Lohse signing made sense for the Brewers, as the loss of the draft pick means they are "drifting into more talent debt."  The Brewers "pushed forward at a time when it really needed to take a step back," writes Olney.
  • Keith Law, also at ESPN, feels the contract is "pretty reasonable relative to market values for starters of his caliber."  Law also feels the Brewers are "sliding out of contender status," but notes that the contract seems tradeable later on.  Lohse did not receive a no-trade clause, noted Rosenthal.       
  • Agent Scott Boras "doesn't lose, even if he didn't exactly win" on the Lohse deal, writes Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs.  Lohse should have gotten a higher average annual value, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but he's not convinced the new draft pick compensation system needs an overhaul.
  • "When you have a system that does not reward performance, you know we have something corrupt in the major league process," Boras told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Boras says baseball should remove the financial motivation for teams to lose, as the worst teams receive the largest pools of draft dollars.  The current system allows bad teams to make up ground on the good ones, which wasn't possible before, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said on Law's podcast a few weeks ago.  Is it fair, though, that the Astros have significantly more draft dollars to spend than the Nationals?  It's good for parity, though teams don't necessarily lose because of their market size.      
  • "Losing the first-round pick is tough, but that's a decision we had to make," GM Doug Melvin told reporters including Haudricourt.

Brewers Sign Kyle Lohse

The long wait is over: Kyle Lohse has officially signed a three-year, $33MM contract with the Brewers that includes an additional $1MM in performance bonuses. The Boras Corporation client passed his physical this afternoon and will join his team for the remainder of Spring Training. "This signing makes us a better club today than we were yesterday," said general manager Doug Melvin in a team-issued press release that confirmed the signing.

The Brewers will forfeit the 17th overall pick and the accompanying slot money in the June draft, while the Cardinals will gain the 28th overall pick. Lohse will reportedly earn just $4MM in 2013, followed by salaries of $11MM in 2014-15. The contract contains $7MM worth of deferred money that will be paid out from 2016-18.

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Lohse, 34, seemed en route to a large contract after posting a 2.86 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 1.6 BB/9, 0.81 HR/9, and 40.5% groundball rate in 211 regular season innings for the Cardinals in 2012, and pitching well the year prior.  Turning down the Cardinals' one-year, $13.3MM qualifying offer seemed the right call in November for a player I considered the 10th best free agent available.  However, partially because of the draft pick compensation issue, Lohse languished on the market nearly until Opening Day.  Agent Scott Boras, whose contract demands were the other major factor in Lohse's wait, told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick in January, "It doesn't really matter what time dinner is when you're the steak."  Lohse had been throwing simulated games in Arizona, but it's unclear when he'll be Major League-ready.

Having traded Zack Greinke midseason and lost Shaun Marcum to free agency, the Brewers were hurting for a veteran rotation presence behind Yovani Gallardo.  It seems likely that Boras made his appeal at the Brewers' ownership level, convincing Mark Attanasio to make the win-now signing and give up the draft pick.

The Rangers were the runner-up for Lohse, though they never made an official offer, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports was the first to report the agreement (Twitter link). USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweeted the financial details, while ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported the details on Lohses's incentives (via Twitter). MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reported the breakdown of Lohse's salary and deferred money (on Twitter).

Steve Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Kyle Lohse Rumors: Sunday

On Friday, we learned that the Blue Jays are at their payroll limit and won't pursue Kyle Lohse and once again heard that the Rangers aren't likely to sign the right-hander. Teams such as Angels, Rockies and Brewers have been connected to Lohse recently. Here's the latest on the former Cardinals hurler…

  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets that the Twins are not one of the teams who have been scouting Lohse's simulated games in Arizona. The Twins have been hungry for starting pitching, but there doesn't appear to be interest in bringing back Lohse, who started his big league career in Minneapolis.
  • Club officials have told ESPN's Buster Olney that Scott Boras continues to ask for $14-15MM per season for Lohse (Twitter link).

AL West Notes: Lohse, Garland, Astros

Here are a few updates from the American League West:


Kyle Lohse Rumors: Friday

Kyle Lohse continues pitching simulated games in anticipation of signing with an MLB team before the amateur draft takes place in June. The market for the right-hander finally seems to be taking shape. The Angels haven't fully ruled out Lohse and the Rockies have done their due diligence. The Rangers and Brewers are keeping tabs on Lohse, but the Royals and Reds don't appear to be talking to agent Scott Boras.

Here are today’s Lohse rumors with the most recent items up top…

  • GM Jon Daniels told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that the Rangers aren't likely to sign Lohse (Twitter links). Daniels didn't completely rule out a deal, however. Rival general managers say Lohse remains unsigned because of Boras' demands, not just the new draft pick compensation rules, Bowden writes.

Earlier updates

  • The Blue Jays are at their payroll limit and will not pursue Lohse, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). While Ricky Romero has looked shaky this spring, J.A. Happ provides insurance as an extra starter.
  • Lohse told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he’s “in an awkward spot” now that the season is approaching. The 34-year-old is scheduled to pitch a simulated game at a local community college today. Boras predicted to Nightengale that teams will intensify their pursuit of Lohse once younger pitchers falter. "His value only rises because there's a greater need now. The demand for him is created by attrition when teams learn that their younger pitching can't meet their need.” The agent said “plenty” of teams are interested.

Olney On Yankees, Lohse, Bradley

Here is the latest from ESPN.com's Buster Olney:

  • With the Yankees facing more uncertainties in 2013 than the club is accustomed to, it will be interesting to watch whether owner Hal Steinbrenner reacts like his father might have if the team get off to a slow start, writes Olney (Insider sub. req'd). While the club's "austerity plan makes a lot of financial sense," Olney suggests, "it's one thing to come up with a plan in the offseason in a quiet office in December, and a whole other challenge to live it hour by hour through a long summer."
  • While the deterrent power of the draft pick compensation tied to free agent hurler Kyle Lohse is well-documented, Olney notes that it only becomes more impactful over time. With the amateur draft now only two months away, "clubs tend to be more clingy with their draft picks than they might have been last fall." And following the news that Lohse appears unlikely to wait until June to sign to "be free of the draft-pick anchor," Olney offers some reasons why the former Cardinal might not take such an approach: clubs would be wary of such a long layoff at his age (34) and could well "want to see him throw before jumping in."
  • Olney also discussed the decision facing the Red Sox on young outfield prospect Jackie Bradley Jr., whose torrid spring (combined with the continued unavailability of David Ortiz) has presented Boston with a difficult balance of short-term reward and long-term cost. The service time considerations for Bradley Jr. were also broken down in detail by ESPN.com's Gordon Edes. Indeed, as reported by Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Sox GM Ben Cherington has made clear that "there are other factors" at play beyond the young outfielder's ability and readiness.

 


Kyle Lohse Rumors: Thursday

Agent Scott Boras told Peter Gammons of MLB Network that right-hander Kyle Lohse won’t wait until after the upcoming amateur draft to sign with a new team. Here’s the latest on which teams are interested in the free agent…

  • The Rockies have done their due diligence on Lohse, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. However, the club would have to increase payroll to sign Lohse and the sides would only complete a deal “if by a very, very remote chance he just flat-out doesn’t have anything,” in the words of Rosenthal’s source. The right-hander wants to match Ryan Dempster’s two-year, $26.5MM contract, Rosenthal reports. The Rangers and Brewers are maintaining contact with Lohse. 
  • One week after Spring Training began, Lohse was asking for a three-year, $45MM contract, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reports (on Twitter). That asking price has continued to drop.

Earlier updates:

  • Lohse could be close to contributing at the MLB level, Yahoo's Tim Brown reports (on Twitter). The 34-year-old is throwing 90-pitch simulated games in Arizona.
  • The Angels maintain that they don’t have interest in Lohse, but the door isn’t fully closed, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio reports (Twitterlinks). 
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin doesn't want to surrender the 17th overall draft pick to obtain Lohse, Bowden reports. The Royals aren’t interested, Bowden notes.
  • Despite speculation that the Reds could get involved with Lohse, GM Walt Jocketty told reporters not to expect anything. When asked about the pitcher, Jocketty said, "Who? Why? We couldn't afford him," according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link).

Zach Links contributed to this post.


Boras: Lohse Won’t Wait For Draft

Kyle Lohse is tied to draft pick compensation, which limits interest from potential suitors to an extent. If the free agent right-hander waits until after the amateur draft takes place in June, teams will no longer have to surrender a draft pick to complete a deal. Even so, we shouldn't expect him to wait that long. Agent Scott Boras insists that Lohse won't be a free agent past the draft, Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports (on Twitter). 

"We have too many teams in play," Boras said.

The Rangers, Brewers and Orioles are among the teams that have recently been mentioned as potential suitors for Lohse. The Yankees and Indians don’t appear to be interested, however. Lohse declined the Cardinals’ qualifying offer after the season, which linked him to draft pick compensation. Teams must now surrender a top pick to complete a deal with the 34-year-old.


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NL Central Links: Taveras, Profar, Lohse, Tabata

Perhaps no player in the game brings as much focus and preparation to his at-bats as Joey Votto, ESPN's Buster Olney details in this must-read profile of the Reds first baseman (Insider subscription required).  "It's all about reframing the challenge," Votto said. "I've stopped caring about runs and RBIs. I care more about how high a percentage of productive at-bats I can have, how consistently tough and competitive I can be for the opposing pitcher. That's my goal every single time I go up there."

Here's the latest from around the NL Central…

  • A swap of Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar for Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras "has not been discussed," one of the involved GMs tells Peter Gammons of the MLB Network (Twitter link).  Needless to say, such a deal would be a blockbuster; Profar and Taveras rank first and third, respectively, on Baseball America's preseason ranking of the sport's 100 best prospects.  Gammons wonders if Profar-for-Taveras would be on the table "if [Scott] Boras didn't represent [Elvis] Andrus," thus making it uncertain if Andrus would sign an extension to remain in Texas.
  • Few teams would benefit from signing Kyle Lohse as much as the Brewers, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel opines.  The Brewers have been adamant about going with younger pitchers and not spending big on veteran starters, but Haudricourt wonders if Lohse could be an option given how some of Milwaukee's current rotation members have struggled during Spring Training.
  • Mark Rogers, one of those struggling pitchers, is out of options and the Brewers are looking at several different ways to avoid losing him on waivers, Haudricourt writes.
  • Jose Tabata needs to produce to remain with the Pirates, as Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette outlines how Tabata is out of options and, if he doesn't make the roster, could be a good trade chip due to his team-friendly contract.  Click here for a full list of every player who is out of options this spring.
  • From earlier today, the Cardinals released Ronny Cedeno and we heard the Tigers weren't interested in Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol.