If the Angels wish to bolster their depleted rotation by adding free agent Kyle Lohse, they might face competition from a familiar foe, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, who tweets that the AL West rival Rangers are also interested in the 37-year-old. Heyman adds that there may be other clubs in pursuit, too, on the heels of the right-hander’s Thursday showcase.
The Rangers aren’t in need of rotation help as much as the Angels, as Texas’ starters have so far pitched to a 3.48 ERA – the seventh-best mark in the majors. They’re seventh from the bottom in both FIP and xFIP, however, and right-hander A.J. Griffin may have opened up a spot in the rotation when he left his start in the third inning Saturday with stiffness in his throwing shoulder. While Griffin has fared well early this season with a 2.94 ERA, 7.49 K/9 and 3.74 BB/9 in 33 2/3 innings, injuries are nothing new for the 28-year-old – who missed the previous two campaigns because of elbow and shoulder troubles.
If Griffin’s current injury proves serious, it would leave the Rangers with Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis as their top four starters. The only member of that group worth counting on is Hamels, which could be why the Rangers are turning their attention outward. Lohse doesn’t exactly look like a cure-all, though, having posted a 5.85 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and 38.6 percent ground-ball rate in 152 innings with Milwaukee last season. He did produce a respectable 3.62 ERA/3.86 FIP/4.10 xFIP in 888 1/3 frames from 2010-14, and the Rangers would certainly hope to get that version of Lohse if they were to sign him.
Regardless of whether Texas lands Lohse, its rotation will get a significant boost soon with the return of ace Yu Darvish, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since August 2014. Darvish, on the comeback trail from March 2015 Tommy John surgery, threw a 50-pitch rehab outing for Triple-A Round Rock on Friday and touched 97 mph several times, according to Anthony Andro of MLB.com. Darvish is on track to rejoin the Rangers either later this month or in early June.