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MLB Rumors: How Would Kyle Lohse Fit into the Rangers Rotation?

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MLB Rumors: How Would Kyle Lohse Fit into the Rangers Rotation?
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Could Kyle Lohse help the Rangers rotation?

Kyle Lohse has found himself without a job heading into the second week of January 2013.

The market for his services has been fairly quiet. So quiet in fact that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Lohse has yet to receive a single formal offer.

Fear not, hope looms on the horizon.

In a tweet by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, it is being reported that Lohse is on the radar of the Texas Rangers, who are looking to add more to their lineup after having just signed Lance Berkman.

The Rangers, who many (including Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi) consider to be the biggest losers of the free agency period thus far, are certainly not done with their winter grocery list.

After having lost Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli while trading away Michael Young and losing out on Zack Greinke, there is a lot of mud on the face of the franchise that needs cleansing.

While options do exist out there, is Kyle Lohse really a good fallback plan?

Despite the fact that Lohse may be the best available arm left on the market, is he really the best available arm for the Rangers?

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The AL West has not been kind to Lohse

Consider this: during his 12 seasons in Major League Baseball he has faced AL West opponents (Oakland A's, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Houston Astros) a combined 47 times.

That resulted in 280.2 innings of work with a 4.88 ERA, 1.466 WHIP and a 17-21 record to show for it.

That's not exactly impressive, is it?

Looking a bit deeper at that, when playing in AL West opponents' home ballparks his numbers are noticeably worse.

In a combined 22 games he is 6-12 with a 5.65 ERA and a 1.623 WHIP in 121.2 innings.

However, Lohse does remain consistent in the fact that he manages to average at least 5.2 innings of work and generally maintains a K/9 ratio of 5.6 whether he is home or away.

Then there is the question of his FIP. While his 3.51 in 2012 places him slightly above average according to a scale on Baseball Prospectus' website, Bill James (as listed on Fangraphs) anticipates the needle jumping a bit in 2013 up to a 3.71, or teetering towards just average.

For what it's worth, in 2012 interleague matchups (Lohse faced the Tigers, Indians and Royals) he managed a 1-1 record in three games with a 1.66 ERA and a 1.015 WHIP in 21.2 innings.

Sure, Lohse has now proven that over the past two seasons he can be reliable. The man has posted a 30-11 record over the past two years. Lohse's 16-3 2012 season earned him the highest winning percentage of any National League pitcher.

The real question is, if the Rangers decide to roll the dice on Lohse, will he perform better than at least half of the rest of the rotation?

Alexi Ogando and Martin Perez are certainly question marks in the rotation while Derek Holland took a noticeable step back in 2012 (4.67 ERA versus a 3.95 in 2011).

One might suggest that if the price isn't too steep, what's the harm in rolling the dice on Lohse?

After all, the Rangers lost the Wild Card, they don't want to lose the winter too.

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