Kyle Lohse Rumors
The bulging disk in Phil Hughes’ back could prove to be a short-term concern, but the Yankees are preparing for the possibility that they’ll need pitching reinforcements. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees are “fishing around” for a veteran starter who can pitch at Triple-A.
The Yankees plan to watch free agent right-hander Chien-Ming Wang at the upcoming World Baseball Classic, Sherman reports. However, GM Brian Cashman said yesterday that he has no interest in signing Kyle Lohse, the top player remaining on the free agent market. Signing Lohse would require the forfeiture of the 27th overall pick in the upcoming amateur draft.
Cashman said the Yankees will rely heavily on their pitching staff in 2013, adding that he expects a decrease in offense. “We are going to score fewer runs,” he admitted. The Yankees' projected rotation consists of Hughes, CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte. David Phelps and Ivan Nova are competing for the final starting job and Adam Warren provides the club with depth.
Padres starter Edinson Volquez is eligible for free agency after the 2013 season, but his preference is to sign an extension with San Diego, says Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Before considering a new contract, the Padres want to see Volquez improve his control, Center notes. Volquez allowed 105 walks in 2012. Here are more notes from around baseball...
- The Dodgers' surplus of starters is yet another factor working against Kyle Lohse as he tries to find a suitable deal this winter, rival officials tell Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd). Teams looking for pitching can pick up the phone and call the Dodgers to ask about Chris Capuano or one of their other available starters. Lohse is obviously a stronger option, but he's also more expensive and teams have less flexibility than they did earlier this winter.
- Pitcher Kyle Davies agreed to a minor league deal with the Twins that does not include an invite to big league camp, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The 29-year-old owns a career 5.59 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 across seven big league seasons.
- New Indians outfielder Michael Bourn says that the offseason market for his services took a turn for the worse after the Twins traded not one, but two center fielders in Denard Span and Ben Revere, CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reports. The trades of Span and Revere took the Nationals and Phillies out of the market for a center fielder. "I was looking at that like, ‘Man, are you serious?' Those were two teams I pretty much thought would be fighting for me," Bourn says.
- The Phillies discussed trading Domonic Brown to the Astros this offseason, Jon Heyman reports (on Twitter), but the Phils, still low on talent in the outfield, are reluctant to deal him. The former top prospect is current competing for time in left field with the Phillies.
- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons hints that the club might turn to Josh Thole or Henry Blanco, rather than J.P. Arencibia, to catch R.A. Dickey, Richard Griffin of TheStar.com reports. The Jays will go with a personal catcher for Dickey, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm notes. Arencibia wants to catch for Dickey, but Thole and Blanco both caught Dickey and his knuckleball when Dickey played for the Mets.
Top prospect Taijuan Walker's stuff has Mike Morse "excited" about being with the Mariners, MLB.com's Greg Johns reports. Morse took a few swings against the 20-year-old Walker in Spring Training on Tuesday and was surprised by what he saw, particularly given Walker's age. "He was throwing an easy 94 or 95 [mph]," Morse said. "I'm like, 'C'mon Mike, bear down, show this kid who's boss.' But stuff like that gets you excited about an organization." Here are more notes from around the A.L. West...
- The Rangers still aren't interested in free agent starter Kyle Lohse, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com writes. Texas has a vacancy in its rotation behind Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando.
- Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen is focusing on "keeping it simple" this spring, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports. Jepsen blames his struggles early in the 2012 season on a change to the grip on his two-seam fastball, which diminished his ability to throw his other pitches effectively. He allowed nine runs in seven innings through the end of April, before recovering to post a 3.02 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 44 innings for the season.
- Astros Jarred Cosart and Josh Zeid are excited to pitch against their former team, the Phillies, in their spring opener Saturday, says Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. At the 2011 trade deadline, the Phillies traded both players to the Astros, along with Jonathan Singleton and Domingo Santana, for Hunter Pence.
Jurickson Profar tops Baseball America's newly-released list of the top 100 prospects in the game. The Cardinals, Marlins and Twins each placed six prospects amongst the top 100, and BA's John Manuel and J.J. Cooper discussed the list in a reader chat. If there was any doubt that Profar was the cream of the minor league crop, the Rangers shortstop also ranked first on the top 100 prospect lists recently released by MLB.com and ESPN's Keith Law.
Here's the latest from around the majors...
- The 133 players who filed for arbitration last month received an average salary increase of 119%, according to a report by The Associated Press. Buster Posey had the biggest raise, going from $615K in 2012 to $8MM in 2013. The AP also examines why no arb cases went to hearings this winter, the first time this has ever happened. You can check out the results of every arbitration case on MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker.
- The Denver Post's Patrick Saunders looks at a number of Rockies-related topics in a reader mailbag, including how the Rockies largely stood pat with their pitching staff over the winter, instead hoping that improved health from incumbent starters upgrades the rotation. Saunders also doesn't see Kyle Lohse as a fit with Colorado, as Lohse likely has no interest in pitching at Coors Field and the Rockies aren't keen to spend big money on a free agent starter.
- Theo Epstein talks to CSN Chicago's David Kaplan about his first 16 months as Cubs president, the progress that the franchise has made and what still has to be done to make the team successful.
- Right-hander Seth McClung has been throwing for teams, CBS Sports' Danny Knobler reports (Twitter link). McClung, 32, last pitched in the Majors in 2009 as a reliever and spot starter for the Brewers and has since pitched in the minors for the Brewers, Rangers and Cubs.
- Freddy Sanchez is looking to keep playing and has turned down minor league offers in hopes of finding a Major League job as a utility infielder, Sanchez's agent Paul Cobbe tells Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area. Sanchez, 35, hasn't played in a game since June 2011 due to shoulder and back injuries but around 20 teams reportedly asked to see his medical records this offseason. Cobbe says Sanchez would love to re-sign with the Giants but they don't want to sign him to a guaranteed contract.
Kyle Lohse talked to B.J. Rains for MLBTR yesterday about his displeasure at twice going to arbitration hearings earlier in his career. Lohse no longer has to worry about the arb process but has faced a different kind of awkwardness this offseason --- he is still looking for a new team despite entering the winter as a top-ten ranked free agent. Here's the latest on the Lohse market, with the newest updates at the top of the page...
- A baseball executive tells ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine that the 34-year-old Lohse will be fortunate to find a multiyear deal at this point given his age. Levine passed on this information during a fan chat about the Chicago teams, and he notes that Lohse isn't a fit for the Cubs since the right-hander is "more of a contending team type pitcher right now."
- The Pirates don't seem to be interested in Lohse, FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports (Twitter link). Morosi feels Lohse would be "a great fit" in Pittsburgh and indeed, Lohse would arguably project as the ace of a Pirates rotation that currently has two starters (Francisco Liriano and Jeff Karstens) dealing with health concerns. A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald are the Bucs' top three starters.
- The Braves have no interest in Lohse, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Julio Teheran is slated to be the Braves' fifth starter, with Brandon Beachy on pace to rejoin the rotation at midseason after undergoing Tommy John surgery last June.
An arbitration hearing is something no player, agent or team wants to go through. Kyle Lohse did it twice.
As Lohse remains on the free agent market despite spring training games starting later this week, MLB Trade Rumors spoke with the right-hander about his two arbitration cases with the Minnesota Twins in 2005 and 2006 for the first of our six-week series looking back at arbitration hearings from the player's point of view.
The dynamic of an arbitration hearing is fascinating. On one side of the long table sits the general manager, his staff, representatives from Major League Baseball, and a lawyer. On the other side sits the player, his agent, members of their staff and folks from the Players Association.
At the end of the long table sits the three arbitrators. During Lohse’s first hearing in 2005, the arbitrators were Christine Knowlton, Robert Bailey and Elliott Shriftman.
“I’ve never been in a court case but it feels like that,” Lohse said. “They talk about how bad you are and why you deserve their number and everything that’s wrong with you and then your team has equal amount of time to pump you up and say everything good about you. You’re sitting there, ‘Man I stink’, and then, ‘I’m the greatest ever.’”
Coming off a season in which he went 9-13 with a 5.34 ERA in 35 games, Lohse filed at $2.4MM for 2005 season. The Twins countered at $2.15MM, a difference of $250K. When the two sides weren’t able to reach an agreement somewhere in the middle, they had no choice but to go to the hearing.
As most do during a player’s first year of arbitration, agent Scott Boras used Lohse’s career production up to that point in his argument. The right-hander was 40-39 with a 4.86 ERA but won 13 games in 2002 and 14 games in 2003.
The Twins instead focused on his down 2004 season, which included giving up 240 hits and 28 home runs in 194 innings. He also had a 1.63 WHIP.
“It’s not a pleasant thing,” Lohse said. “It’s hard to sit there and listen to the lawyer say how bad you are when the GM is sitting right there and you feel like he fed them the info to talk about how bad you are yet they still want you.
“It can get almost a little personal in there at times. I think it kind of helped me because they tried to get a little personal and they weren’t going off facts and it kind of hurt their case during one of my hearings.”
Each side has an hour to present their initial case before time is given for rebuttals and even surrebuttals. Case in chief books are exchanged before the start and some will even send representatives out of the room to spend the two hours examining the document and working on their rebuttal presentations in advance.
Multiple people usually speak for both sides, but rarely do the general managers speak. In Lohse’s case, Twins GM Terry Ryan didn’t say a word. Instead, the club’s lawyer did much of the talking. Boras handled much of the talking himself on Lohse’s behalf.
Both sides use charts and diagrams to try and help prove their case.
“It’s quite a bit of stuff,” Lohse said. “They bring in charts and are handing papers out. You’re sitting there thinking, ‘Really? Why do you guys want to keep me?’ It’s a tough thing to sit through and its part of the business. That really kind of opened my eyes up to the business side of it really.”
Lohse said the basis of any arbitration case is to find similar players with similar stats and try to compare your case to them.
“It’s all about comparables,” Lohse said. “If you can find a comparable that gets you over that midpoint, that’s where you try and pin your case to as a player and they are doing the same thing, trying to pin me to the lowest comparable they can to bring my worth down.
“It’s all about finding the numbers, whether it’s a starting pitcher, innings pitched, starts, stuff like that is real important. The first time coming through arbitration, it’s not based on your previous year really, it's based on your body of work and you just look at what you did and the numbers you have and you focus on that.”
Lohse was notified 24 hours after the hearing that he had won and his salary went from $395K in 2004 to the $2.4MM he requested for 2005.
But despite the uneasiness in the room and Lohse’s distaste for the process, the two sides were unable to come to an agreement the following year and were forced to go to another hearing.
This time Lohse requested $3.95MM while the club countered with $3.4MM. And again, Lohse won.
“It’s not a pleasant thing and that’s why you see so many people settling at or around the midpoint because it’s not something you want to go through,” Lohse said. “But in my case, neither time we could get to the midpoint and both cases I won so that basically proves I was worth the midpoint or above.
“The second time it was over such a small amount of money, it was tough to believe that we were really doing it again. You’re sitting there looking at it thinking, ‘They aren’t going to come up to there?’ They were sticking to their number and weren’t coming up so there was nothing to lose, and sometimes that’s the way it goes.”
General managers usually reach out to the players in the days following the hearing to ensure no hard feelings are left. The lines are always the same, and predictable.
“Oh yeah, definitely,” Lohse said. “They have all the quotes where it’s just a business and it doesn’t mean they didn’t want us and all that. That’s where you see the business side of it and it is part of a business and you have to deal with it and move on. “
MLB Trade Rumors will look at Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis and his 2010 arbitration case with the Anaheim Angels in next week’s installment.
Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio predicts Kyle Lohse will sign with either the Brewers or Rangers as one of five moves which will happen this spring (Insider subscription required). Bowden also sees extensions for Adam Wainwright and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Here's the other Senior Circuit news and notes from the first Sunday of Spring Training:
- Count the Phillies out as suitors for Lohse as GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is prepared to go with the staff he has in camp, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
- Lohse will only become of interest to the Cardinals if their rotation candidates aren't panning out during Spring Training, writes CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman in a piece outlining six reasons why the Redbirds remain playoff contenders.
- One reason for the Cardinals making the postseason in three of the last four years is being ranked as one of the NL's top four teams in terms of innings pitched by the starting rotation, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Goold notes this year’s rotation is set to include four starters, beyond Wainwright, who combined have just one 190-inning season.
- The Mets could use catcher John Buck as trade bait once they promote Travis d'Arnaud in the opinion of ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin, who cites the precedent of when David Wright took over at third base.
- Bill Madden of the New York Daily News cautions the Mets to be prudent with their newfound financial flexibility if they dive into next year's free agent outfield pool. Madden lists Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, and Hunter Pence (all ranked in the top ten of MLBTR's 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings) as possible targets.
Here's a look at the latest out of the National League Central..
- We recently heard that agent Scott Boras is working hard to sell the Angels on Kyle Lohse and owner Mark Attanasio says that he is doing the same with the Brewers. "Our ears are always open. We don't want to lead our fans on in any way. There's not an active conversation. But our ears are always open. [GM] Doug [Melvin] and his group are always looking to improve the team," said the owner, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- Marco Scutaro had a two-year, $18MM offer from the Cardinals on the table but instead took a three-year, $20MM deal to remain with the Giants, writes Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. Scutaro's representatives told the Giants early on in the offseason that $20MM over three years would get the job done and they held true to their word, despite a higher average annual value and a recruiting pitch from Matt Holliday.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if the Cardinals are too old. The Cards have an average age of 30.5, making them the fourth oldest team in the majors behind the Yankees, Phillies, and Rangers.
For that special baseball fan in your life, Valentine's Day means dressing up in an Expos throwback jersey and a fake mustache and glasses before hitting the town. Here's the latest from around the majors as Spring Training is almost in full swing...
- The Braves haven't talked to Jason Heyward about a long-term extension, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports. Heyward was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and agreed to a one-year, $3.65MM deal for 2013. Heyward is under team control through the 2015 season. Bowman thinks the Braves could also talk to Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman about multiyear deals before the season begins.
- Also from Bowman's story, Braves CEO and chairman Terry McGuirk said the organization is willing to spend to keep the team in contention for years to come. "Money is not going to stand between us and getting it done at this point because we are that close," McGuirk said. "I'm talking about [the] long term and short term. I'm talking about talent that is here and talent that isn't here."
- Carlos Marmol said he "was a little sad" when the Cubs tried to deal him to the Angels earlier this offseason, ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine writes. Marmol's contract expires after this season and the reliever said he wants to stay with the Cubs. Levine speculates that the Angels could revisit a Marmol deal since Ryan Madson will likely start the year on the disabled list.
- Bronson Arroyo is entering the final year of his Reds contract and the veteran realizes it could be his last year in Cincinnati, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports. "When you have a team as we do, where everyone is coming into their own kind of at the same time, and add the fact we have a couple of monster deals already in place, it's going to be tough for me to stick around here if I have [a] successful season," Arroyo said.
- Given the time Reds GM Walt Jocketty is spending on Homer Bailey's contract, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer figures Bailey could be in line for a multiyear deal. The Reds have already signed two other arbitration-eligible pitchers (Mat Latos and Logan Ondrusek) to two-year extensions this offseason. Bailey is in his second year of arb eligibility.
- Kyle Lohse's landing spot is debated by Jeff Sullivan and Dave Cameron of Fangraphs. Lohse is expected to find a contact soon, though a number of teams linked to the right-hander are seemingly distancing themselves. Sullivan and Cameron suggest the Rangers, Mariners, Padres and Indians could all be fits for Lohse and the two weigh the costs of Lohse's projected value against the value of the draft pick that most teams would have to give up to sign him.
- Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch lists John Mozeliak's 10 best moves as Cardinals general manager. Mozeliak signed a new extension with the Cards today that will keep him with the team through the 2016 season.
The Nationals, Angels, Brewers, Red Sox and Cardinals seem to be distancing themselves from Kyle Lohse, publicly suggesting they aren't likely to reach a deal with the free agent right-hander. Lohse, the last remaining impact free agent, would represent an upgrade for most rotations around MLB. It’s just a question of which team will reach a deal with agent Scott Boras. Here’s the latest on Lohse...
- Within a piece focused on Zack Greinke, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Lohse is “almost certain to sign with a team soon.”
- Rosenthal also notes that Lohse would no longer be linked to draft pick compensation if he were to wait until after the amateur draft takes place in June. By the way, the entire FOX Sports piece is worth a read for insight into Greinke’s love of baseball. The Dodgers right-hander was interested in the compensation rules for Lohse, which prompted Rosenthal to inquire.
- Tim Dierkes, who noted this method of bypassing draft pick compensation last month, recently examined the impact of the qualifying offer at MLBTR.