11:11am: In addition to the Tigers, Heyman reports (via Twitter) that the Orioles, Rangers and Reds also attended Lohse’s recent showcase. The O’s and Rangers would presumably also be looking at Lohse as experienced depth, though Baltimore’s rotation is unsettled enough that Lohse could have an opportunity at regular innings. Cincinnati, meanwhile, is going with a very inexperienced group of starting candidates so Lohse could be a fit as a veteran innings eater.
9:33am: The Tigers “are emphasizing depth” in the starting rotation and have some interest in veteran righty Kyle Lohse, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). Lohse is a client of Scott Boras, who has a well-documented connection with Tigers owner Mike Ilitch.
The Marlins were the only other club connected to the 37-year-old this winter, and the quiet rumor mill probably isn’t a surprise given Lohse’s age and his rough 2015 season. He posted a 5.85 ERA and 6.4 K/9 over 152 1/3 innings with the Brewers, a performance that cost him his rotation job. The largest issue seemed to be a 15.3% homer rate that was well above Lohse’s 10% career average, though a .314 BABIP and 68.7% strand rate also added to Lohse’s misfortune. While his ERA indicators (5.12 FIP, 4.48 xFIP, 4.43 SIERA) weren’t particularly impressive, they show that Lohse’s 5.85 ERA was at least a bit misleading.
Lohse is probably available on a minor league deal at this point, and he could provide some veteran depth for a rotation that has had a couple of injury question marks. Anibal Sanchez recently pitched his first outing of camp on Monday after battling triceps inflammation this spring, and Daniel Norris recently left a start due to tightness in his lower back. Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmermann, Sanchez and Mike Pelfrey are penciled in as Detroit’s top four starters, with Shane Greene, Matt Boyd and Buck Farmer all battling Norris for the fifth starter’s job (and potentially a spot outing for Sanchez if he isn’t able to make his first start of the regular season).