On paper, you’d think there would be a fit.
Kyle Lohse, coming off a 3.6 fWAR season that saw him set career-best numbers across the board, is the most notable free agent pitcher still on the market. The Milwaukee Brewers, who felt the absence of Zack Greinke all last year, currently have a rotation that is led by Yovani Gallardo, but is lacking an established No. 2 pitcher.
To compete in the NL Central in 2013, the Brewers are going to have to bolster their pitching department. Even team owner Mark Attanasio alluded to this, recently saying “there’s always a chance” that the team could go after the 34-year-old righty if it made sense to the Brewers’ future plans.
At least one pundit has thrown some cold water on that smoke. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports suggests that it’s unlikely the two sides will wind up coming to an agreement, and it comes down to how it impacts the future. The Milwaukee Brewers are in a bit of a crossroads, with a on-field roster that is set up to compete in the division, but is lacking the pitching depth it’ll likely require for them to go very far.
Lohse will provide some of that, but signing him will also cost the team a significant piece of their future in the form of a 17th-overall draft pick to the St. Louis Cardinals, and that’s not an idea that the Brewers are very fond off.
Part of that is likely because they’ve already been down that route, essentially mortgaging the farm to acquire C.C. Sabathia in 2008, and then again in 2010 for Greinke. Neither player got the team to the level they wanted, and even though GM Doug Melvin has never been one to shy from going all-in, that first baseman Corey Hart will be out for an extended period of time is enough to give the team pause as to whether Lohse will truly be the piece that gets them where they want to be.
If it is time for the Brewers to restock the farm, the 17th-overall pick is going to be a significant piece to lose, especially when considering Lohse isn’t the type of cornerstone pitcher that can carry a rotation like Sabathia.
Signing Lohse and failing to gain traction in the division could mean setting the team back significantly in a process to reload, and potentially saddling them with a bad contract. For that reason, don’t be surprised if the Brewers take a pass on the free agent, even if it will likely help them in the short term.