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Rangers have “remained in contact” with Kyle Lohse

Mar 3, 2013, 12:34 PM EDT

kyle lohse getty Getty Images

Something may start brewing soon between the Rangers and free agent right-hander Kyle Lohse.

According to beat writer Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Texas front office has “remained in contact” with Lohse’s agent, Scott Boras, and “there are some within the Rangers’ organization” who are pushing for a deal.

Signing the 12-year major league veteran would mean forfeiting the No. 24 overall pick in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft. But the Rangers collected pick No. 31 when outfielder Josh Hamilton joined the Angels, so that could take some of the sting away.

Lohse posted a 2.86 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 211 innings last season for St. Louis. He rejected a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals in November, which triggered the draft pick compensation.

The Rangers’ fifth starter right now is young left-hander Martin Perez, though Colby Lewis should be recovered from elbow surgery in late May or early June. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports heard last week that a three-year deal could get it done for Lohse, but he’s probably willing to consider all offers at this point.

  1. beefytrout - Mar 3, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    I think the wild card here is Ogando. He wants to start, and the Rangers want him to start… but I’m still not convinced he has what it takes to be a starter. The bullpen is stretched thin right now, and they are also giving Robbie Ross an opportunity to win the 5th spot in the rotation

    Signing Lohse means Ross automatically goes back to the bullpen, but since Lewis is scheduled to return midseason, that probably means Ogando goes back to the bullpen too (why sign Lohse if he’s not going to start?). Seems like the Rangers would be better off just handling things internally. It’s time to see what Perez can do.

    • gt929 - Mar 3, 2013 at 7:55 PM

      Bad news… Perez broke his left forearm today. I was hoping he’d be the 5th starter, too, and for Ogando to go back to the pen when Lewis came back. Now, we’ll see what happens. I’m still torn on Lohse.

  2. miketreedy - Mar 3, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    It’s just hard for the Rangers to give up a 1st round pick. Unlike the Cowboys, the Rangers actually know how to draft and develop players. So they really are giving up something for Lohse. Perez is pitching again today so it will be interesting to see if he pitches well again. Also, there’s no guarantee that Lohse will pitch well in Arlington and against the tougher AL hitters. There is a reason no one else has signed him and it’s not only the draft pick compensation.

    • spudchukar - Mar 3, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      Lohse is definitely an upgrade, but this does not seem like the best fit, with the young arms and small park. As to the “tougher” AL hitters, the myth lives on: Runs in 2012 NL-10929, AL-10088 and this would be supported by the notion that the AL has better pitchers, which is doubtful at best.

      • theonlynolan - Mar 3, 2013 at 5:01 PM

        NL also had 2 more teams than the AL last year. It’s not a myth, it’s a fact.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 3, 2013 at 9:12 PM

        As to the “tougher” AL hitters, the myth lives on:

        wOBA (not park adjusted)

        AL – 1,2,3,7,10
        NL – 4,5,6,8,9

        wRC+ (park adjusted)

        AL – 1,2,4,5,8,10
        NL – 3,6,7,9

        AL with the better offense (also using your runs figure, NL team averaged 683 runs/g and the AL teams averaged 720 runs/g).

      • ptfu - Mar 3, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        AL DHs surely outhit NL pitchers and their pinch hitters. Comparing AL offenses to NL offenses isn’t entirely apples to apples.

      • spudchukar - Mar 4, 2013 at 12:02 AM

        Yeah, I was hoping somebody would take the bait. Trying to support theories based on stats, is an exercise in futility, as any fool ought to be able to recognize. Yes, the American League has more teams, and they have the DH, which of course increases run production. In truth I only used runs scored to show that it is about as good as any other stat, when comparing leagues, in that it sucks, just not worse than any other measurement that I know of.

        This argument can only be subjective, at least until the leagues play more representative games against each other, and that will never happen. Church, really, spouting numbers produced by National League pitchers vs. National League Hitters, and vice versa, and then to discount the DH rule? Dude, you are loosing all credibility.

      • spudchukar - Mar 4, 2013 at 12:02 AM

        er… losing.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 4, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        Yes, the American League has more teams,

        O rly?

        Church, really, spouting numbers produced by National League pitchers vs. National League Hitters, and vice versa, and then to discount the DH rule?

        Oh you mean like wRC+ which removes pitchers from the equation?

  3. tfbuckfutter - Mar 3, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    That picture looks like a cartoon of someone who is very very tired.

  4. jessethegreat - Mar 3, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Lohse didn’t exactly play in the worst offensive division the past few years. He may not have the ability to be one of the most dominant pitchers in the game… But he is a good pitcher. If a team signs him not expecting him to be the ace of the staff… They should get a solid performance out of him. I see him as a solid #2 / excellent #3 pitcher for most teams in the league.

    • tfbuckfutter - Mar 3, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      What are you basing that one?

      His ERA+ for his career is 97.

      Even with the Cardinals, despite an aberration of a year last year, it is only 101.

      If he goes back to the AL he is going to be CREAMED, and that is HALF of the league.

  5. salvomania - Mar 3, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Last year was not an aberration; Lohse has been a Cardinal for 5 years, and in two of those years—2009-2010—he battled injuries and was limited to 117 and 92 ip.

    But in Lohse’s three healthy years as a Cardinal—2008 and then the most recent two—he’s had ERA+ of 112, 109 and 134, averaging 200 innings.

    Assuming Lohse is as liable to get injured as any other pitcher—those two injured seasons were the only he’s had in his career, and are probably pretty typical for a 12-year veteran—then he’s a great bet to be a plus major-league starter in 2013.

    Over his last 400 innings, he has a 1.13 WHIP. That ranks 11th in all of baseball among the 59 pitchers with at least 350 ip. He’s an extreme groundballer with outstanding control (only 38 walks last season) who has matured into a really good pitcher.

    By any metric except K/9 he’s been among the top dozen pitchers in the NL the last two years.

    • tfbuckfutter - Mar 3, 2013 at 7:10 PM

      Being 22% better than you have ever been previously would be considered an “aberration.”

      • salvomania - Mar 3, 2013 at 9:10 PM

        I assume you’re talking about his ERA+, and the difference between last year and his next best season is 20%, not 22% (134/112 is a 20% difference).

        “Best year” doesn’t necessarily equal “aberration.” There’s no dispute that 2012 was by far Lohse’s best year. He finished 7th in the Cy Young voting and that’s a pretty fair assessment of how good he was last year (7th in ip; 4th in WHIP; 4th in WPA, 10th in WAR)

        But his last three full seasons have all been good seasons, with 2012 clearly the best. None of his first seven seasons were as good as what he’s done more recently, and a season like 2012, taken in context with his 2008 and 2011, isn’t an aberration as much as it is a current high point in what has been a steadily improving performance as he’s become a more experienced and more polished pitcher.

        If 2012 was such an aberration, how does one explain that only 10 full-time starters in all of baseball have a better WHIP over the last two years?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 3, 2013 at 9:23 PM

        If 2012 was such an aberration, how does one explain that only 10 full-time starters in all of baseball have a better WHIP over the last two years?

        because WHIP isn’t a good stat to measure pitchers by. When the majority of pitchers can’t control balls in play, why use a metric that is 50% based on hits?

        He’s an extreme groundballer with outstanding control (only 38 walks last season) who has matured into a really good pitcher.

        40.5% is an extreme groundballer? That was the worst % he’s had since ’07. If we take the last two years, this “extreme groundballer” ranks 48th out of 59 total pitchers with 350 IP.

  6. salvomania - Mar 3, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    because WHIP isn’t a good stat to measure pitchers by.

    Maybe not. But let’s look at two groups of 10 pitchers, and see if we can come to any conclusions about the two groups.

    Ubaldo Jimenez
    Rick Porcello
    Jake Westbrook
    Randy Wolf
    Aaron Harang
    Ricky Nolasco
    Ricky Romero
    Jeremy Guthrie
    Justin Masterson
    Trevor Cahill
    (average ERA+ of 93, none better than 103)

    Justin Verlander
    Clayton Kershaw
    Jered Weaver
    Cole Hamels
    Matt Cain
    Cliff Lee
    James Shields
    Roy Halladay
    David Price
    Doug Fister
    (average ERA+ of 136, none worse than 120)

    One group contains mostly struggling innings-eaters, the other some of the elite starters in all of baseball. I didn’t cherry-pick the two groups, I just listed the bottom 10 and top 10 in WHIP over the past two years (min 350 ip). There’s not one pitcher in the top group I’d trade for a pitcher in the bottom group.

    But you’re absolutely right about Lohse’s groundball tendencies; I’m mistaken, I think I just lumped him in with Duncan’s corps of pitch-to-contact sinkerballers. Given that, Lohse and the Ballpark at Arlington might not be the best fit.

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