Jobu digs into to the Kyle Lohse situation.
I was reading Hardball Talk today and they touched upon Kyle Lohse, and how he still hasn’t signed with a major league team. It got me thinking. Here’s a guy that has won 30 games the last two years for a St. Louis Cardinals team that won the 2011 World Series and Lost in the 2012 NLCS. He’s played competitive baseball for a competitive team for the last two seasons, and he’s got absolutely nothing to show for it in 2013. By all means, he should be cashing in with a multi-year deal worth millions. Instead, it’s almost April and he’s still waiting around. Why? Because he will cost teams a first round draft pick. A guy that might not ever even play in the majors… Have I gone crazy?
Seriously. Let’s take another look at the numbers that Lohse has put up over the last couple of seasons. In 30 starts during the 2011 season, he went 14-8 with a 3.39 ERA. His WHIP was a minuscule 1.168 and he only walked 42 men in 188.1 innings. He followed that up with an even better 2012. At 33 years of age, he put up the best season of his career, winning 16 games while only losing 3. That gave him an .842 winning percentage, which led the National League. He also led the league with 33 starts, helping to prove that the injuries that plagued him in 2009 and 2010, might just be all gone. He also struck out a career high 143 guys while only walking 38, and his WHIP was even lower, at 1.090.
He’s not deserving of top guy money or anything, but a guy his age, coming off that kind of season, should command at least four years for probably close to $50MM. Edwin Jackson, coming off a less impressive season (11-10, 4.03), got four years and $52MM from the Cubbies. Granted, Jackson is almost five years younger than Lohse, but his track record over the last couple seasons is a lot more inconsistent. I would recommend that Lohse stay in the National League but, short of that, he shouldn’t be so lacking in potential suitors. Are you telling me that no team in the NL could benefit from having Lohse on their staff?
Anyway, let’s visit the whole draft pick issue. Do you know how many first round draft picks make the majors?66% (Bleacher Report). 66%! That means that one-third of guys taken in the first round don’t even make the bigs. Of those, significantly less will ever become “superstars” so to speak. Even number one overall picks aren’t guaranteed stars. Remember Phil Nevin? Brien Taylor? How about Matt Bush? Probably not, because they were total busts. You might remember Bush because he recently killed a guy while drunk driving. That’s it though.
My point is… Why are so many teams unwilling to give up a first round pick when it comes to signing players that are clearly going to upgrade their ball clubs and could turn a contender into a champion? I could see not wanting to give up a draft pick for a middle reliever, or perhaps a decent major league regular, but Lohse has turned himself into a legitimate major league starter. He could turn a solid rotation into a great one, or solidify a rotation that is in flux. There’s no reason not to have a guy like him on the team, unless you already have five starters that are better than he is.
Anyway, here’s hoping Kyle is able to sign with someone soon. It’s a shame to see him sitting around nearing April.
Featured image courtesy of: Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
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