According to the AP, on Thursday, March 13th, the St Louis Cardinals signed journeyman right-hander, 29-year-old Kyle Lohse to a one-year, $4.25 million deal, pending passing of a team physical examination.
The total takehome paycheck could be more with added incentives for reaching milestones stipulated in the contract.
In terms of the team though, what do the Cardinals get for their money? What they get is a guy who Dave Duncan can tinker with, which is a good thing for the team.
Beyond the obvious that the Cardinals are desperate for someone who can take the mound every fifth day, how does this signing look from the eyes of pitching guru Dave Duncan?
If you know your baseball history, Duncan is perhaps the second best pitching coach to instruct at this level to Leo Mazzone. For some of us, he is the best, considering the reclamation miracles he has worked.
Dennis Eckersley and Dave Stewart in the Bay area of Oakland in the 1980s, up through and including Chris Carpenter and Jeff Weaver today all have been revived by Duncan's prowess. So when Duncan gets wind of the Lohse signing, what does he do to tinker, poke and prod this young man into performing up to his full potential?
For starters, you can bet Duncan knows Lohse has a sound repertoire of pitches. He commands a mid 90s fastball, a change, a curve, and a slider added to a history of mixing his pitches well.
He can pitch long into games when healthy, twice getting over 30 starts and 175 innings pitched in his five-year career. Lohse can also work out of the bullpen.
On paper, he seems like a nice addition to a starting rotation, especially one desperate like the Cardinals. But the reality was no one came calling for Lohse, who had been on the free market for some time.
Why the hesitation? Perhaps there is a tweak needed to Lohse’s delivery. Or maybe his mechanics are off. Could it be he is rushing his delivery when he should be more deliberate?
Whatever the reason, there seems to have been some underlying factor in why he remained unsigned as long as he did. Rest assured, Dave Duncan will know what to do.
He will study film and make observations. He will sit down, talk to the man as he has with so many others in his storied career.
There is no guarantee, which is why he was only given a one-year contract. But Duncan is ready to talk. The question then becomes, is Lohse ready to listen?
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