Kyle Lohse Rumors
Kyle Lohse may not sign with a team until after the first-year player draft takes place in June, writes Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. required). Where might Lohse sign? Bowden writes that the Rangers are the most likely destination if he signs before Opening Day, while the Brewers, Orioles, Angels, and Reds are also candidates. Here are more links from around MLB...
- Recently released infielder Bobby Crosby will look to continue his comeback with an MLB team, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. The Brewers released Crosby yesterday after determining that his chances of making the Opening Day roster were slim, but agent Paul Cohen said his client aims to continue playing.
- MLB owners are moving toward eliminating the pension plans of non-uniformed employees, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf has opposed the idea, which will be put to the vote in May. Most owners now want to abolish the pension plan, Rubin reports. This would affect front office executives and scouts, among others.
- Miguel Tejada has already asked about managing the Dominican Republic team at the next World Baseball Classic in 2017, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. "We'll see," said Moises Alou, the general manager of the Dominican team. Tejada, a veteran of 15 MLB seasons, last played at the MLB level with the 2011 Giants.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Kyle Lohse is starting to get "antsy" about not yet having a contract, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Much of Rosenthal's item on Lohse focuses, however, on the possibility that the Cardinals won't get a compensation pick for Lohse, which would happen if Lohse doesn't sign with a new team before the draft in June. Rosenthal writes that Lohse's situation might encourage MLB to allow sign-and-trades, which would give teams who don't wish to lose draft choices more flexibility to sign players who have declined qualifying offers. Here's more from Rosenthal ...
- Rosenthal reports that the Royals are looking for an outfielder they can use in place of Jeff Francoeur against good right-handed pitching.
- The Padres like Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello, Rosenthal notes, but are unwilling to part with a "top reliever." The Angels might make sense as a destination for Porcello, but the Angels are currently more concerned with finding a backup catcher and a relief pitcher.
- The Dodgers still appear likely to deal either Chris Capuano or Aaron Harang.
- Chris Snyder of the Nationals is almost certain to be dealt before the season begins, Rosenthal says.
Here's the latest from around the NL East...
- Cole Hamels wouldn't have signed an extension with the Phillies unless he thought the team would continue to contend, the southpaw tells CBS Sports' Scott Miller. "I was very comfortable with making the decision [to re-sign] because I do know what they're going to do and what it takes to win," Hamels said. "I've experienced it first hand.”
- Chris Young and Micah Owings have both had impressive springs for the Nationals but will be hard-pressed to win jobs on the largely-settled Nats roster, Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com writes. Owings needs regular at-bats to help in his transition from pitching to first base but the Nationals are deep at both first and in the outfield at both the Major League and Triple-A levels. As for Young, he can opt out of his minor league deal with Washington if he isn't on the big league roster by March 24.
- The Nationals' depth is also explored in the latest mailbag piece from MLB.com's Bill Ladson, as he notes that the club wants to hold onto Steve Lombardozzi and Danny Espinosa as backup options.
- Ladson also says the Nationals have no interest in Kyle Lohse unless one of their starting pitchers gets injured, and even then, they would only sign Lohse to a one-year deal. As I noted in my recent examination of the Lohse market, the Nats are a real longshot to sign the veteran righty, and probably wouldn't be considered candidates at all were it not for the club's relationship with Scott Boras, Lohse's agent.
- The Marlins still have a lot of decisions to make about the composition of their 25- and 40-man rosters, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro writes.
- Earlier today on MLBTR, Ben Nicholson-Smith compiled some Phillies notes and Tim Dierkes continued the Offseason In Review series with a look at the Mets.
The Rangers are staying in contact with Kyle Lohse, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports. Scott Boras, Lohse's agent, didn't confirm Texas' interest but did say that he had heard from several teams about the 34-year-old right-hander.
"He’s doing his workouts, and we’ve continued talking with a number of teams,” Boras said. "A lot of teams are evaluating their existing situations, but have called and have interest in Kyle.”
Lohse's name has been mentioned in connection with the Rangers since Texas failed to land Zack Greinke, and the whispers have grown louder since fifth starter candidate Martin Perez suffered a fractured ulna. We heard last week, however, that Texas wasn't going to sign Lohse for a variety of reasons, including concerns about how Lohse would fare in the AL West, the expensive multiyear deal that Boras was seeking and the draft pick (24th overall) that the Rangers would have to forfeit to sign the free agent righty. Boras told Rosenthal that he was confident his client would sign before the June amateur draft, though a late signing would be a way for a team to avoid losing their pick.
Lohse was ranked as the 10th-best free agent of the offseason by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes last October. Of Dierkes' top 50 free agents, only Lohse and Jose Valverde (No. 44, and another Boras client) remain unsigned. I cited the Rangers as a possible candidate to sign Lohse in my breakdown of the right-hander's market last month.
Here's the latest news from both the Rangers and Astros, including how the future of the Lone Star State's greatest pitcher (Nolan Ryan) impacts both Texas clubs...
- Jon Daniels said the Rangers never offered him Ryan's CEO job, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Before being promoted to the position of president of baseball operations, Daniels said the Rangers offered him a few other titles, and "all of those discussions involved me reporting directly to Nolan." There has been speculation that Ryan could leave the Rangers given the increased influence of Daniels and Rick George, the newly-promoted president of business operations.
- Hiring Ryan and giving him a significant role would greatly benefit the Astros both on and off the field, MLB.com's Richard Justice opines.
- Kyle Lohse is "slightly better than just a guy" in the Rangers' view, writes Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPN Dallas, which is partly why the team isn't interested in the veteran right-hander.
- Astros owner Jim Crane tells reporters (including MLB.com's Brian McTaggart) that the team's ongoing negotiations over a new TV contract are crucial to the team's financial well-being and its rebuilding process. "This is a long-term deal, and it will really affect the ability to finance the team and the payroll," Crane said. "We have to have a deal that's market with the Rangers and Angels and we should be able to get that....We want to have our payroll where the Rangers' is so we can compete with everybody."
- Also from McTaggart, the Astros have done well to rebuild their farm system though it may take a few years for their current batch of top prospects to make an impact on the Major League level.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the Rangers were keeping in contact with agent Scott Boras regarding Kyle Lohse. However, a club source says tells T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com that Texas won't be the team to take the top remaining free agent off of the market.
“We are not going to sign Kyle Lohse. I can’t be clearer than that," said the source.
Some wondered if the Rangers might ramp up their pursuit of Lohse in the wake of Martin Perez's injury, given that the fractured ulna will keep him from throwing for about a month. However, it looks like Jon Daniels & Co. will instead look to get by with what they already have in-house.
Even though Lohse has sat on the shelf for much longer than anyone anticipated, Boras is reportedly seeking a three-year deal with a "big" annual salary. It's still not clear which teams could be in on the 34-year-old as the Yankees and Indians are also not interested in signing him. Recently, Tim Dierkes predicted that Lohse would eventually settle for a one- or two-year deal.
MONDAY: The Rangers appear to have increased their interest in Lohse following Perez's injury, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported today that the Scott Boras client seeks a three-year deal with a high annual salary.
SUNDAY, 7:11 pm: The Rangers announced via press release that lefthanded starting pitcher Martin Perez suffered a fractured ulna in his left forearm when he was struck by a liner in today's game. The press release states that Perez is "not expected to resume a throwing program for approximately four weeks while the fracture heals."
While it is still unclear whether Perez's injury will have any impact on Texas's interest in Lohse, several commentators have raised that possibility, including CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman, Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times (on Twitter), and Buster Olney of ESPN.com (also on Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says that, despite the drawbacks to a Lohse signing from the Rangers' perspective, "discussions are almost certain to grow more serious" after the injury to Perez.
While Perez will likely miss a minimum of two months while he recovers and rehabs, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that Texas still seems disinclined to look outside of the organization to fill its fifth-starter role. GM Jon Daniels said that the team would "look around at external options, but I expect to go internally at this point." He added that, "knock on wood," the Rangers "hope to get both Colby [Lewis] and Martin back a month into the season, give or take."
10:54 am: The Rangers have remained in contact with agent Scott Boras about the possibility of signing Kyle Lohse, according to Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram. Unsurprisingly, Texas is hesitating in part because of the draft pick compensation tied to the pitcher.
Some in the Rangers organization don’t want to surrender the No. 24 pick or the money that comes with it, even though they received the No. 31 overall pick after losing Josh Hamilton. However, others in the front office say the need to win now is worth sacrificing the draft choice. Ultimately, Wilson sees the pairing as unlikely but still possible at some point in spring training.
Earlier this week, we learned that the Indians and Yankees are not in on the right-hander.
The Rangers have a number of reservations about signing Kyle Lohse, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote last night. The free agent right-hander would require a multiyear contract, and the Rangers would have to surrender a draft pick to complete a deal. They'd also have limited time to get him ready for the season with Spring Training already underway. Here's more from Rosenthal, starting with some additional information on Lohse...
- One of the teams in touch regarding Lohse says agent Scott Boras seeks a three-year deal with a “big” annual salary for the 34-year-old, Rosenthal reports (on Twitter). Boras doesn’t give teams specific numbers in negotiations.
- A ton of scouts are in Lakeland to watch trade candidate Rick Porcello face the Astros today, Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). The Angels, Rangers, Diamondbacks, Twins, Braves, Yankees, Red Sox, Athletics and Mariners are among the many teams with scouts at the game, though some of those scouts are presumably there on regular assignments.
The market for Kyle Lohse still seems quiet, even as Opening Day approaches. Agent Scott Boras called the Yankees about Lohse this week only to hear that they aren't interested, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). The Indians aren't in on Lohse either, having already expanded payroll to accommodate free agents Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn.
The Yankees' rotation looks vulnerable now that Phil Hughes is questionable for Opening Day. However, the Yankees avoided free agents linked to draft pick compensation this winter and seem intent on keeping their first round pick. Plus, signing Lohse to a multiyear deal could make it difficult to avoid baseball’s luxury tax by 2014.
The Indians would only have to surrender a third round selection to sign Lohse, so draft pick compensation isn't an issue for them, Olney writes. Instead, Lohse's asking price seems to be the primary obstacle. The Indians’ rotation includes considerable uncertainty from top to bottom, so interest in Lohse would make sense at the right price.
MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk recently examined the market for Lohse in detail. Other potential suitors include the Angels, Brewers and Cardinals.
The MLBPA's Michael Weiner calls MLB's qualifying offer system "mostly good" but imperfect, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports (on Sulia). Weiner expresses concern about the fact that Kyle Lohse is currently without a team, and suggests that Michael Bourn and Adam LaRoche might have gotten bigger contracts if not for the qualifying offer system. Weiner says "there will be discussions" about improving it. But, Weiner says, the system reduced the number of players whose free agency status was connected to draft pick compensation from "over 30" to nine.
In the 2012 draft, however, teams only lost nine picks as a result of signing free agents, and only three of those picks were first-rounders. In 2013, the qualifying offer system will reduce the number of lost picks only slightly. Three teams (the Nationals, Braves and Angels) have already lost their first-rounders, and there could be another when Lohse signs. The Indians, meanwhile, will lose two later picks for their signings of Nick Swisher and Bourn.
Here are more notes from around the majors..
- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire isn't concerned about the fact that his contract expires after the season, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today. "I'd like to stay here," says Gardenhire. "If it works out, it works. If it doesn't work out here, will I manage somewhere else? Well, I know I'm not ready to quit being a manager." The Twins lost 96 games in 2012 after dropping 99 in 2011.
- Buster Olney of ESPN argues that MLB should ban home-plate collisions. Olney quotes a source who puts the dollar value (based on the value of a marginal win) of blocking home plate at $125K, and points out that the Giants lost far more than that when Buster Posey missed much of last season with an injury sustained in a home-plate collision.
- The Marlins and Diamondbacks have discussed the status of pitcher Josh Booty, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com writes. The 37-year-old Booty is a non-roster invitee to Diamondbacks camp, but the Marlins drafted him with the fifth overall pick in 1994 and signed him with the idea that he would not pursue football. After he retired from baseball to play quarterback at LSU, the Marlins placed him on the restricted list, meaning that they technically still own his rights. Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall says the Marlins won't worry about it, however, unless Booty establishes himself as a potentially credible big-leaguer. "The Marlins are OK. They said go ahead and use him how you want in the spring," Hall says. "Their concern is if he's Major League material, they either have the right to him or the right to a trade. That's OK, we'll cross that path when we need to."