By now if you haven’t heard, the Milwaukee Brewers have decided that the veteran presence needed in their starting rotation is none other than Kyle Lohse. This morning, or afternoon depending on where you live, the Brewers and Lohse agreed to terms for a three-year contract worth $33 million. Also with signing Lohse, the Brewers now must forfeit their 17th round draft pick.
Is Lohse really going to pitch as spectacularly as he has previously or will he give Milwaukee fans another reason to loathe the St. Louis Cardinals?
Looking at what this means directly, obviously the rotation that Ron Roenicke had crafted is now back to the drawing board. Of course, it doesn’t change too much, except for the fact that someone is out of a job. Yovani Gallardo will still be the number one, but I’m inclined to believe that Lohse will be the second man in the rotation. Behind him at three will sit Marco Estrada followed by Chris Narveson and then either Wily Peralta or Mike Fiers. When it comes down to it, I’d hate to see anyone leave the rotation, but my gut tells me Fiers is going to be out of a job.
With the restructured starting rotation, not a whole heck of a lot changes other than the fact that if Fiers is out, some of the inconsistency will be gone as well. This isn’t to say that Lohse is the “end-all-to-be-all” of veteran pitchers, but taking his last two seasons into account, it’s almost a no-brainer to pencil him in over Fiers.
Okay, so Fiers or Peralta may be out at this point, so now you’re probably asking how this changes the rest of the team. I’ll tell you how, the bullpen.
Fiers isn’t exactly going to be thrown back into Triple-A (Peralta maybe), but at the same time, there are three decent arms battling for a bullpen spot. Do Fiers or Peralta automatically get lumped in the bullpen, leaving Donovan Hand, Brandon Kintzler and Alfredo Figaro to fight for one position instead of two? If so, the bullpen takes a hit from the signing, regardless of a negative or positive impact.
Lohse’s 2012 is a season in particular that stands out in his 12-year career. A 16-3 pitcher in 2012, Lohse also posted a career low 2.86 ERA, pitched 211 innings and struck out 143 batters whilst still retaining the lowest opponent’s batting average of his career at .234. Clearly luck isn’t a factor into Lohse’s pitching if we expand his career and take a look at his 2008 and 2011 which were both just as successful.
So, what’s the big deal? Why don’t people like the signing of the 34-year-old Lohse?
The deal honestly isn’t all that bad, three-years for $33 million with a $1 million in bonuses. So if it’s not the money nor the years, it’s something else. Well, to be quite blunt, it’s the draft pick. So many teams were far from trigger happy to sign Lohse due to the giving up of a draft pick. Brewers’ general manager Doug Melvin said numerous times that the team wasn’t interested in giving up the pick.
This is a team built on the philosophy of working from within, so what changed about that? Everything the team had been building up for, mainly in the department of pitching, really means nothing at the moment. We all said how Tyler Thornburg wasn’t ready to start last year, but he did. The team had confidence in a pitcher that despite only starting in eight Triple-A games in his life, was ready to pitch a major league game. Signing Lohse brings that philosophy to a screeching halt.
One huge factor that is being overlooked is with the Brewers now investing money into Lohse, does this spell the end for Corey Hart? Since Hart is in a contract year and will be a free-agent at the end of the season, the Brewer faithful are hoping that management will work a deal with him, extending his career as a Brewer. Such a deal has yet to even take flight and the splurge on Lohse doesn’t help Hart’s situation at all.
It’s not that fans are necessarily opposed to signing a veteran with experience, but it’s all the strings attached that makes the boil blood. The Brewers really had no need to sign Lohse as they had a multitude of fall back options in case of injury and or slumps. Regardless, Lohse is a Brewer now so all we can do is give him our support and hope this deal works out until the end.