There are many different reactions to the Brewers’ signing of starter Kyle Lohse out there, diverse opinions from observers nationally and more locally. Without a doubt, the Lohse signing is a contentious issue among Brewers fans and it will continue to be a hot topic as we inch toward Opening Day. Hopefully after that, however, we’ll be talking about the signing as a positive addition for the Brewers rotation.
The Brewers were in no position to trade for a guy like Detroit’s Rick Porcello to upgrade the rotation, due to a depleted farm system, and even Jeremy Guthrie got $25MM over three years, from Kansas City. The Brewers waited out the market, confident in their young guys, but made a change in plans when the rotation candidates looked shaky this spring. The Brewers Bar’s staff had a conversation regarding the Lohse signing, and here are those thoughts from Jess Lemont (@BrewCrewJess), Enrique Bakemeyer (@C_Enrique_B), Dakota Schmidt (@Dakota_Schmidt) and Nick Michalski (@MichalskiNick).
- What were your initial thoughts when you heard of the Lohse signing?
@BrewCrewJess: My first thought was ‘(some words)’ – I didn’t want it to happen, and if it did, I didn’t want it to be more than two years, and it was more than two years.
@C_Enrique_B: My initial reaction was pleasure. After the egg Narveson laid today, my secondary reaction is relief.
@Dakota_Schmidt: I actually had two thoughts after I saw an alert on my phone about this signing. First thought was that this will help out our bullpen and then I was scared when I saw it was for three years / $33MM because that’s a lot of money.
@MichalskiNick: My initial reaction was ‘Oh f#@k!’ There goes the not-signing-Lohse idea.
- How do you think he’ll be implemented in the rotation this year and what does this move mean for guys like Peralta or Fiers who were projected to be listed toward the bottom of the rotation?
@BrewCrewJess: He’ll start behind Gallardo. My feeling is they’ll send Peralta down, but I’d prefer Fiers.
@C_Enrique_B: I assume the earliest he’ll be able to pitch is the second half of April, and that he would be #2. My gut is also with keeping Peralta in the rotation and sending Fiers to the minors/bullpen.
@Dakota_Schmidt: He’ll probably be the #2 guy behind Gallardo for probably the first and second year with the team until his skills start to diminish and/or one of our prospects can produce at a higher rate. I expect Fiers to still be in the #5 spot in the rotation while Peralta is either used as long relief or just sent back to Nashville.
@MichalskiNick: He’s clearly the #2 starter. I’d like to see Peralta stay and Fiers go down to AAA.
- What are the short-term and long-term effects of Lohse and his three-year, $33MM contract?
@BrewCrewJess: Short term: it’s clearly a win-now move and they could have done much worse. The Brewers are getting a quality SP who will give them 200+ innings and who, despite the fact he doesn’t strike a lot of batters out, has the ability to throw a lot of first-pitch strikes – 67.7% in 2011 and 68.6% in 2012 – and gets a lot of swings and misses. Add in Lucroy’s pitch-framing abilities and that Lohse is a member of the Nomalaki tribe…Wait. Maybe I’m a little bit too excited about this.
Long term: the Brewers can’t redistribute that money to compensate for that lost pick, and the Cardinals now get some of that money and get to make another pick at the end of the first round. That kind of makes me nauseous. I hate the Cardinals. Also, Lohse has to be that ~3 WAR pitcher, and preferably for the next two seasons. So, he is absolutely not allowed to get injured.
@C_Enrique_B: Short term: the Brewers contend for the division this year. Long term: the Brewers contend for the division for the next two years. My optimism this time of year is plentiful.
@Dakota_Schmidt: Short term: he pitches close to the same level as last year which would help Milwaukee to compete with the Reds and Cards. Long term: he moves down to a 3.50-4.00 ERA and 1.30 WHIP at the end of his contract which isn’t the best for a guy who’ll be paid around $11MM but is solid for a back-of-the-rotation guy.
@MichalskiNick: Short term: the Brewers buoy the rotation for 2013 but create new questions. Long term: the Crew loses a valuable draft pick and must hope Lohse plays to his salary level.
- How does this move compare to the past signings of Wolf and Suppan?
@BrewCrewJess: Lohse is better than Suppan was. Suppan may or may not have been a better dinner guest at Mark Attanasio’s house. Wolf was very good in 2011, and that was a good year to be good. Last season would’ve been another one to be good, but it wasn’t. I didn’t hate the Wolf contract. I might kind of hate the Lohse contract. The whole draft-pick situation wasn’t a factor with Wolf.
@C_Enrique_B: Hard to say, but if he at least gives the Brewers one great year like Wolf, then what more could we ask for?
@Dakota_Schmidt: I could see Lohse giving the Brewers a solid year in 2013 similar to Wolf’s first year but better. Suppan is still a thorn to my side so it would personally pain me to see Kyle reach those levels that Suppan did at the end of his Milwaukee run.
@MichalskiNick: It’s another big-dollar contract for an aging starter. Hopefully it’s different from Suppan and Wolf because I’m sick of talking about those guys. Lohse at least ‘seems’ younger.
- Will Lohse help or hurt the overall progression of the minor-league pitching talent that the Brewers have?
@BrewCrewJess: I think a possible loss of Rogers could hurt a bit. Otherwise…no, I guess!
@C_Enrique_B: I don’t see how it hurts anyone other than Rogers, who already seems hurt in any case. If other minor-league guys are ready, they’ll find a way to the bigs regardless of Lohse.
@Dakota_Schmidt: This move will probably hurt Rogers who is a troubled player to begin with but I could see how Lohse could possibly hinder the future progression of a guy like Johnny Hellweg if we know that he’s ready to be a major-league talent but Lohse is still in the way.
@MichalskiNick: He may hurt it if they lose Rogers. But Fiers and Peralta have options and the Brewers have other pitchers on the way. It’s a thin line between confidently going with a young unproven rotation and having a miserable losing season.
It now appears that Mark Rogers may start the year on the disabled list due to unknown dead-arm issues. Another thing that has surfaced is that per Ken Rosenthal, Lohse did not obtain a no-trade clause. While the contract has a high AAV, it’s possible Lohse could be traded to another team if the Brewers find themselves with a need to jettison their new pitcher in the future. Overall, it looks like we here at The Brewers Bar are concerned about what the Brewers have to sacrifice to add Lohse, but are hopeful he can stabilize a turbulent rotation situation and perhaps elevate the team’s overall competence, especially in 2013. -NM