After three months of free agency, Kyle Lohse is still looking for a team to play with in the 2013 season.
Early in the offseason it was being speculated that Lohse would be looking for a multi-year deal carrying an average annual salary around $15 million. In a November 4 article published in New York Newsday, David Lennon predicted that the Boston Red Sox would sign him for four years and $60 million.
At the time, that seemed a bit absurd. After all, the Red Sox were freshly cleansed of some $250 million in salary arbitrations (thanks again, Los Angeles Dodgers) and were not going to foolishly squander away those funds on a 34-year-old pitcher for multiple years, right?
For much of the winter that appeared to be the case. The team managed to fill all of its major holes with short-term contracts for high dollar values. For example, Jonny Gomes signed a two-year deal worth $10 million.
However, when looking at the Red Sox roster the team has six men slated as starting pitchers: Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Felix Doubront, Franklin Morales and the recently signed Ryan Dempster.
Not bad, but not quite where they want to be.
According to MLB.com’s Ian Brown answering questions in his Red Sox mailbag, the team is still likely to add another starting pitcher before the start of the 2013 season, citing that “Teams can't go into camp with a projected five-man rotation. You really need to go in with about an eight-man rotation to cover yourself in case of injuries.”
This is an extremely valid point when you consider that the Red Sox last received 157 starts from their starting five-man rotation in 2004.
Lohse may not be the second coming of Pedro Martinez. He may not even be the second coming of Ramon Martinez. However, Lohse is another veteran who has started 63 games in his last two seasons.
One could argue that Dave Duncan turned him around in St. Louis. This can’t be viewed as a bad thing. In his past two seasons, Lohse posted a 30-11 record with a 3.13 ERA and a 1.129 WHIP.
Lohse relies heavily on his fastball and slider, but has managed to mix in his curve and changeup nicely while showcasing a cutter on rare occasions.
At this stage in the winter, the likelihood of Lohse obtaining a multi-year contract is slim. The obvious obstacle being the loss of a first-round draft pick required to sign him because Lohse was offered a qualifying offer from the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Red Sox could live with that type of sacrifice, especially if Lohse works out well for them in 2013. In turn, they could make him a qualifying offer at the end of the 2013 season and if he walks, they essentially receive their pick back.
Low risk/high reward.
With that in mind, the Boston Red Sox absolutely should pursue Lohse on a one-year deal, even if it costs them $15 million to do so.
Christopher Benvie is an MLB Featured Columnist for the Bleacher Report as well as a Contributing Writer for WEEI.com in Boston, Massachusetts. Follow him on Twitter here:
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