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Thursday, January 31, 2013

MLB Free Agency: 4 Reasons Kyle Lohse still does not have a new home

Former St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse headed into the off-season expecting to be one of the most coveted free agent starting pitchers on the market. The belief was, that after a 16-3 season with the Cardinals in 2012, that Lohse would cash in big with a team strapped for quality starting pitching.

Unfortunately, at this point, it has not worked out that way for Lohse, who is still searching for a new team even though pitchers and catchers will begin reporting for spring training in about two weeks for most clubs.

There has been in interest in Lohse lately, particularly by the Milwaukee Brewers and Seattle Mariners. But nothing looks to be eminent just yet and it definitely does not look like Lohse, who is 34 years old, will land the long-term contract he thought he would receiver prior to becoming a free agent.

There are many factors in play when analyzing why a team has not pounced on Lohse just yet. Here are the four biggest, most glaring reasons why Lohse has not found a new home yet for the 2013 season.

1. Kyle Lohse does not have overpowering stuff. 

Lohse is not a strikeout pitcher and never will be. He pitches to contact and relies on spotting his fastball while keeping hitters off balance with a very good change-up. Teams looking for a front-line starter are not willing to pay top dollar for a guy who focuses on forcing opponents into hitting ground balls. Everyone wants strikeouts and lots of them.

Lohse struck out 143 hitters in 2012, which was a career high, but still equated to just 6.1 punch-outs per nine innings. Paying top dollar for ground balls just isn't attractive for a team with restrained budget concerns.

2. The Yankees and Red Sox are not spending money like they use to.

In years past, Lohse would have been the perfect free agent option for the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox to pursue in order to upgrade their starting rotations.

Unfortunately for Lohse, both free-spending organizations have reigned in their spending habits this off-season, leaving the market for Lohse a bit empty.

3. Kyle Lohse's agent is Scott Boras. 

Boras is known for getting his players paid top dollar. He has taken advantage of teams and pushed the envelope many times over the years and unfortunately, it has gotten to a point where some teams do not like working with the "super-agent".

Having Boras as his agent has hurt Lohse's attractiveness. Teams do not want to mess with Boras, which has left Lohse without a home.

4. Any team wanting to sign Lohse would have to give up a first round draft pick.

As mentioned above, the Yankees and Red Sox are not spending money in free agency like they use to because they are investing more dollars into developing more, lower cost internal options. Teams across baseball, the Cardinals included, are stacking their farm systems with power arms. Those power arms are developing faster than ever before and teams are utilizing the cheap labor more.

Lohse isn't young. He won't be cheap. Thus, he is stuck waiting for somebody to offer him a job that will pay the appropriate price.

Kyle Lohse will find a home at some point over the next two weeks. He is too good of a pitcher not. But for now, there are too many variables working against him, which has caused him to miss out on cashing in big this winter in free agency.