If Rodney Dangerfield were a free agent in the current Major League Baseball class, he might go by the name of Kyle Lohse.
Lohse is still on the open market, despite going 16-3 with an earned run average of 2.86 for the Cardinals last season. He pitched over 200 innings, allowed 192 hits and walked a measly 38, so why is he still unemployed?
Did the playoffs make that big of a difference?
Sure, he struggled in his most crucial start last season in the NLCS against the Giants, but should one bad performance completely wipe out the best season of his career?
Is his age a factor?
Lohse is 34 years of age and teams may not want to divvy out a long-term deal to someone who has a high chance of declining over the next few seasons, but surely someone would take a flyer on a pitcher with his numbers from last season. Maybe not on a long-term deal, but a two or three-year deal seems suitable for a team in need of pitching help.
Teams like the Orioles or Brewers could be a fit. Baltimore is still interested in re-signing Joe Saunders, but Lohse could be a more effective addition than Saunders, if the price isn’t too far out of the O’s range.
Milwaukee was ready to dish out cash to an aging Ryan Dempster before he signed with Boston, so why not go the same route with Lohse? The ‘Brew Crew’ needs depth behind Yovani Gallardo in the rotation and Lohse is currently the top pitcher available on the open market.
Is it the Scott Boras factor once again?
As I mentioned in my article about free agent Michael Bourn, “Boras is known for waiting out the market until a team gets desperate enough to overpay for his clients,” and this may also be the case with Lohse.
Saunders and Shaun Marcum are other options for teams looking for pitching and Brett Myers was until he agreed to sign with the Indians today, but none of the three have ever posted an ERA below three in their careers and of the trio, only Saunders 2008 win total of 17 bested Lohse’s win total from last season.
It’s doubtful Lohse will get another four-year deal worth $41 million like he did in 2008, but he is valuable and someone should pick him up. All cons aside, 16 wins is 16 wins and an ERA below three is very hard to come by in this day and age.
Give the man some respect.