It was on this day in 2013 that the Brewers signed Kyle Lohse to a three-year, $33MM contract, ending Lohse’s extended stay in the free agent market. The 2012-13 offseason was the first to feature the qualifying offer in its original form, and the draft pick compensation (a first-round pick, or the highest available pick for a team with one of the top ten draft spots) attached to Lohse’s services seemed to chill the market for the veteran right-hander. Lohse became the first of several notable players whose free agency was impacted by the QO in the coming years, and even in its adjusted form under the new collective bargaining agreement, the qualifying certainly still acted as a seeming deterrent for several free agents this offseason. The Brewers, it should be noted, ended up getting a pretty solid return on their investment, as Lohse posted a 3.45 ERA and 3.28 K/BB rate over 397 innings in 2013-14 before declining in the final year of the contract.
Some items from around baseball…
- Talks about Scott Kingery’s precedent-setting extension with the Phillies came together within the last few days, The Athletic’s Matt Gelb writes (subscription required). The team had been planning to keep Kingery at Triple-A long enough (April 13) to limit his service time and thus gain and extra year of control over his services. At a guaranteed price of $24MM over six years, the Phillies see the contract “as a no-risk transaction,” as it isn’t too heavy a sum to eat if Kingery doesn’t live up to expectations as a big leaguer, though the organization is very high on the prospect as an important building block.
- Of course, the Kingery deal was bound to generate some controversy given that he could be leaving a lot of future money on the table should he play well. Speaking to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (subscription required), one rival agent described the contract’s three club options as “offensive,” given that the Phillies could control Kingery’s first three free agent years at a total price of $42MM, which surely won’t match the rate of market inflation by 2024-26. Rosenthal’s notes piece is well worth a full read, as he catches up on some of the bigger stories of the past six weeks that he missed while recovering from back surgery. (On behalf of all of us at MLBTR, it’s great to see Ken recovered and ready to go for the start of the season!)
- Wei-Yin Chen faced live hitters in a 16-pitch batting practice session today, and the Marlins southpaw told reporters (including MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro) that it “felt like the old days,” prior to the elbow problems that have plagued him over the last two seasons. Chen has been gradually moving through the recovery process, with today’s session being his first test against actual batters. Without any injury setbacks, Chen could begin a proper ramp-up to the season and potentially return to Miami’s rotation by May, at the earliest.
- The Tigers aren’t planning to make a trade to account for Mike Fiers’ potential DL stint, MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi tweets. The team already has Daniel Norris as an in-house replacement, plus Fiers isn’t expected to miss much time recovering from the back problems that have hampered him all spring.
- Kevin Maitan’s prospect stock was already dimming after a difficult first full pro season, and the former Braves prospect has continued to draw mixed reviews from scouts in his first Spring Training with the Angels, Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper writes. Though Maitan is still just 18 years old, scouts already believe his body type won’t allow him to remain at shortstop, and he may also be too big even to handle third base. This puts more pressure on Maitan to hit if he isn’t going to play at a premium defensive position, and evaluators also have some questions about Maitan’s swing. pessimistic