March 15, 2013

Why is Kyle Lohse Still Unsigned?

By - Keith Smith

I admit that I don't keep up with every single unsigned free agent in baseball. These days, that would be nearly impossible to do.

But there is one that I'm really intrigued (and more than a little curious) about not signing yet. You see, former St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Kyle Lohse is on my fantasy team.

Photo by: Brad Mills
Actually, I should say that he was on my fantasy team. We had to cut down to our keeper list a few days ago in preparation for this weekend's draft. An unsigned Lohse didn't make the cut.

I originally planned to keep him. Lohse is coming off a career year (16-3, 2.86  ERA, 211 innings pitched, 143 strikeouts and a 1.09 WHIP). If you will give me four or five starters with those numbers on my fantasy team this season, I feel pretty good about my chances of winning the league. Heck, if you give me four or five starters with those numbers, I would feel pretty good about a real team's chances of a playoff run.

So why has no one signed Lohse yet?

Part of the problem is that Lohse has really only come into his own the past couple of years, his 11th and 12th in the league. Those were only his second and third seasons with a sub-4.00 ERA, and last year was his first sub-3.00 ERA. They were also only his fourth and fifth seasons with double-digit wins. His lifetime record is a modest 118-109, with a career 4.45 ERA. Solid, but not stellar.

Still, the past two years have been superb, and he is only 34-years-old. So what gives?

My bet is that part of the problem is his agent. Lohse is represented by Scott Boras. Enough said.

Boras is notorious for being a brutal negotiator, and there aren't many GMs around the league that like to deal with him. He is also demanding a three-year deal (the Cards were offering two) for his client, at a substantial raise from the $12 million that he received in 2012 (St. Louis offered $15 million).

There has been talk that the Rangers might be interested. I think the Cards would love to have him back, but it's hard for anyone to justify giving a guy with only two or three good major league years a three-year contract worth upwards of $50 million.

I could rant all day about overpaid athletes, and rail even longer about greedy agents, but that's for another day.

The other reason that clubs are balking on Lohse is because, due to the new collective bargaining agreement, anyone signing him before June would have to give up a first-round draft pick.

So unless Boras, and more appropriately, Lohse (Boras does work for him, after all) wake up and alter their demands, I hope Lohse enjoys his two months off, because I don't see anyone giving up both three years and a first-rounder to get a pitcher with his history. Odds are more in favor of last year being a fluke, or one of those mysterious "contract years," than the other 11 years of his career.

But you better believe that I'm watching this one closely. I certainly wouldn't mind getting those 16 wins, low ERA and low WHIP back on my fantasy team.


  1. Someone will pick him up, but it probably won't be before June unless they lower the asking price. He doesn't have the career resume to support what he wants.

  2. Hopefully my Rangers get a deal done. We could use him.