Free agent pitcher Kyle Lohse has reached a three-year, $33 million deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. The deal was first reported by CBSSports’ Jon Heyman. Lohse is coming off a fantastic year with division-rival St. Louis Cardinals. In 2012 he went 16-3, with a 2.86 ERA.
His former team offered him a one-year $13.3 million contract in order to receive draft pick compensation. The Cardinal’s really had no interest in resigning him and Lohse immediately turned down the offer. Because he signed with the Brewers, the Cardinals will receive the 28th pick in the upcoming draft and Milwaukee will lose their 17th pick.
Suitors such as the Rangers and Dodgers seemed unwilling to pay Lohse like an ace. Although last season’s stats would suggest otherwise, he’s mainly put up the numbers of a second or third starter in his career. Other than ace Yovani Gallardo, the Brewers don’t have too much firepower from their starting rotation.
In my NL Central predictions article, I said that the Brewers are a much better team than given credit for. Obviously this signing can do nothing but help them as long as Lohse pitches like he did in 2011 and 2012, NOT like he did in 2010.
Let’s have a look at Lohse’s rising performance since 2010.
2010: 4-8, 6.55 ERA, 0.7 WAR (Mind you, he was absolutely plagued with injuries in 2010.)
2011: 14-8, 3.39 ERA, 2.5 WAR
2012: 16-3, 2.86 ERA, 3.6 WAR
That is a noticeable incline in his performance. I can tell you this; even in his down years, Lohse was always good to eat up some innings. In 2011, he was crucial in the Cardinals’ unpredictable run that ended in a World Series title. In 2012, the Cardinals probably don’t make the playoffs without Lohse. After the rotation suffered some injuries, he stepped up as the number one starter and came within one inning of throwing a no-hitter on Opening Night against the Marlins. He then went on to be one of the National League’s best pitchers in 2012.
Did the Brewers pay a little too much for Lohse? Maybe. Did they lose a draft pick in the process? Yes. But did they make their team better? They most certainly did. The Brewers are a much better team with him on board. If he can stay healthy, I see no reason why he can’t be a top of the line pitcher in 2012. He could even help the Brewers slide into a playoff spot.