Feb. 23: Q of the Day

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Why has Kyle Lohse not signed with anyone?  

– Hiram G., Searcy, Ark.

It seems I get at least one Kyle Lohse inquiry a day, which means I probably should take the time to answer one. Obviously, Lohse never anticipated still being at home at the start of Spring Training. He thought his 2012 season would make him one of the more coveted free-agent pitchers and would propel him to a lucrative multi-year deal. That didn’t happen. At least, not yet.

What seems to be the biggest knock against Lohse right now isn’t his age or his health but rather his status as one of the few players to be presented a qualifying offer back in November. You might remember that Lohse turned down the Cardinals’ one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer during the offseason. There was no surprise in that decision, as Lohse was still seeking a multi-year deal. The Cardinals made him the offer so that they could secure an extra selection in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

However, because Lohse was made a qualifying offer, any team that signs him will lose its first-round Draft pick and the pool of Draft money that goes with it. The only exception would be for a team that has one of the first 10 selection. If one of these clubs were to sign Lohse, that team would forfeit a second-round selection. The fact that Draft picks are now tied to Draft pool money is the biggest issue here. Clubs that lose an early pick lose a substantial portion of the money that they can allot to their Draft class. That has caused a lot of hesitation, particularly from teams that are not necessarily in a must-win-now position.

Will Lohse be unemployed for long? I don’t envision him remaining home into the regular season, but at this point, he’s likely waiting for injuries to create holes in some club’s rotation. Needs always surface during Spring Training, and Lohse could fill one for a team that might find itself unexpectedly needing starting pitching. Remember, too, that in 2008, he didn’t sign until March 13. Lohse finished that season 15-6 with a 3.78 ERA. So there is some precedent that would suggest Lohse can handle the late start.

* If you would like to submit a question to be considered for the Q of the Day, email it to me at Jenifer.Langosch@MLB.com. Include your first name, last initial and hometown in the submission. Thanks!

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10 Comments

I’d suggest one other reason for Kyle situation: his agent. While no one would verbalize it, Scott Boras continually demonstrates he does not care about the impact of his clients’ contracts on the clubs who sign them. His demands are extreme and he thinks by fortifying them with a tome of accomplishments and comparisons that his demands are justified. Edwin Jackson, former Cardinal, signed a 4 year/$52 million deal with the Cubs AFTER he dumped Borass. ‘Nuff said.

It is not Boras’ job to care about the impact of his clients’ contracts on the clubs who sign them. Boras works for the player he represents, not for the team. Would you want to be represented in a negotiation by someone who’s working for the other side? His mistake, if he made one, was in misjudging Lohse’s value.

Any way you say it, it is his agent. Refer back to the Edwin Jackson example.

Boras got Prince Fielder 214 million dollars and when you get right down to it Boras gets his clients what they are worth. What doesn’t get discussed often enough is that Lohse just really isn’t that good which is why he does not have a contract. You can talk about losing draft picks and draft slot money all you want but if Lohse were worth a multi year deal at 15 million per year he would have it.

Prince was 28 when he signed. He is an every day player. He had a consistent history. Kyle is 34. Some up and some down years. Position and age weigh in but the fact of the matter is Kyle did not get good advice. He may not show up until March again but when he does, it won’t be the same. He should have worked a deal out with the Cards sans his agent.

That’s assuming the Cardinals want him to begin with. If I am Lohse I want the best representation possible and Boras got him a nice 4 year deal before so there is no reason not to go with him again. He knows if he doesn’t have Boras he doesn’t maximize his options. Whatever deal Lohse ends up with is going to be significantly better than what he would have gotten on his own.

Not suggesting KL negotiate his own contract.
Edwin Jackson dumped Borass and has a contract. W70 L71
Kyle kept him and does not have a contract. W118 L109

You keep coming back to Edwin Jackson and I’m not sure what you are arguing here. Scott Boras track record speaks for itself. Edwin Jackson has a contract because he is better at this stage in his career than Kyle Lohse is. Win loss records are mostly subjective and don’t apply here. If Kyle Lohse hired Ejax agent tomorrow he would still not have a contract that Kyle Lohse wants because he is not worth that.

Let me help you out here. When Kyle was Edwin Jackson’s age, his record was 63-74. Jackson has 10 years in now. Kyle’s first 10 years he was 88-98. I use EJ as an e.g. because 1) it is a current comparison 2) Both pitchers had the same agent. There is no significance difference between them at the same stage. You’ll probably find a moran who will agree with you that won loss records are subjective, maybe even two. I am not one of those. Kyle could have taken the Cardinal offer or maybe negotiated a two year deal and maybe even a mutual 3rd year option. Fact is, his agent has not got it done.

Lol. It doesn’t sound like I am the one that needs help. You are talking about negotiating contracts on win/loss records and that just does not happen. Edwin Jackson would have gotten the contract he got whether Boras was his agent or not. The bottom line is Lohse wants too much money. He is not worth what he wants. And once again you are assuming the Cardinals want him for 2-3 more years and they obviously don’t . They would have offered that to begin with if they wanted him. Now some other team may end up offering those years at 10-12 million but that is too many years for a team like the Cardinals who have pitchers that have higher ceilings than Lohse. 15 million a year for a guy that had a good year last year and half a good year the year before is ridiculous. Did Boras over play his hand? Yes. But Boras is the best agent in baseball. It’s going to happen. Be thankful the Cardinals don’t have Lohse. He’s not that good.

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