Kyle Lohse a Potential Replacement for Hudson?


With Tim Hudson now out of the picture, the Braves will boast one of the youngest starting staffs in all of baseball. It’s scary to think that at this point the Braves would walk into opening day with the oldest starting pitcher currently on their roster at 28 years of age (Kris Medlen). However, Frank Wren has not been shy about the team’s hopes of adding a solid veteran starter who could provide some leadership to a rotation who may need some after the subtractions of Hudson, Paul Maholm and even Freddy Garcia.

The lack of a real suitable replacement on the free agent market had led Wren to turn his sights to possible trade candidates, and while the greed in us fans would love to make a run at David Price, what the Rays are looking for in return seem to be way to much for the Braves to really want to pull the trigger on such a deal. With that being said , the Brewers have appeared to make both Kyle Lohse and Yovani Gallardo available around the league. These asking prices will be much lower than for a former Cy Young award winner like Price. Gallardo is coming off of the worst season of his career and doesn’t seem to be drawing much interest, however the 35 year old Lohse seems to be a perfect fit for a rotation looking for some depth and some leadership.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Atlanta BravesLohse has pitched in the bigs for 12 years and hold a career 4.35 ERA. However, over the past few seasons Lohse has become a staple in any rotation he has been in. In his last 3 seasons, he has started at least 30 games and posted ERA’s of under 3.40 in each year and had a career year in 2012 when he went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was also the starting and winning pitcher in the Wild Card game that knocked the Braves out of the playoffs in 2012. Last season was also very productive for Lohse when he posted a 3.35 ERA for a lack luster team in Milwaukee. He has two years left on his contract which would take him to his 37 year old season and would allow the Braves to let him go after that deal is done similar to how they just handled Tim Hudson. That two year bridge would also allow the young starters of this team to mature into veterans themselves.

Oh and to sell you a little more on the idea of Kyle Lohse, in his career at Turner Field Kyle boasts a 3-0 record with a 2.53 ERA including a complete game shutout last season and a post season win as well. This is an addition that Frank Wren should really look into that would help heal the wounds of the subtractions we have suffered over the last week.

Tags: Atlanta Braves Featured Kyle Lohse Popular Tim Hudson

  • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

    I think with the shortage of viable, affordable pitchers on the market, Lohse might be as good a candidate as the Braves could get. He’s been the subject of discussions long before MB’s article also. It would be a bit of a risk, but as you so aptly pointed out Jordan, Kyle has seemed to be on a bit of an upswing (term used loosely for a pitcher). I also believe I read somewhere that Kyle has some deferred payments coming to him for a few years down the road.

    • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

      David Price has a $5m deferment in his deal – which will be an interesting factor in a trade. Also might have been short-sighted on the part of his agent: that $5m is worth a lot more in Florida (no income tax) than virtually anywhere else.

      • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

        God, I love state that are smart enough not to have income tax! I used to live in TN. Don’t believe they’ve implemented one yet, but I could be wrong. Lucky!

        • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

          Well, they _do_ jack up the property taxes in Fla to compensate. :]

          • fireboss

            Texas has no income tax….just sayin

          • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

            He could live in TN or FL and have an ATL apartment. Solved.

  • Jesus

    I’d like to point out that even with a low ERA Lohse’s FIP was a rather mediocre 4.08 and his K% of 5.66 is pretty mediocre too. I don’t like the idea of sending prospects to the brewers AND paying his contract when you could get a guy like Oswalt or Gavin Floyd and get probably the same level of production for just $$$

    • Jesus

      not to mention that Arroyo is basically the same pitcher and also would only cost $$ and nobody seems to excited to bring him in. I dunno mang, I’m not too excited about Lohse over Wood or Hale honestly.

      • Jesus

        and here’s another name of interest. Scott Kazmir, better than Lohse, 30 years old, only costs money

        • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

          If other avenues fail, I would take a flyer on Kazmir.

        • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

          Maybe even Roy Halladay… if he can flash 91-92 again.

      • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

        Good points. Do you have Frank Wren’s phone number?

        • Jesus

          I don’t think Frank will make a trade for a guy like Lohse unless every single free agent who is similar is gone. and even then I think he would probably stick with what we have first.

    • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

      Well, kinda.

      Lohse had a much better 2nd half than 1st in 2013. Basically, if he keeps the ball in the yard, he’s pretty good. That actually would tend to work in Atlanta.

      Oh – don’t forget: Sept. 25 vs. Braves… at Turner Field…Complete game Shutout Win on 2 hits. Even though he only struck out 5.

      • Jesus

        one start against our team is hardly a large enough sample size to dismiss that he is pretty much an average pitcher. and average pitchers who are due $11m per year for the next 2 years are too damn pricey when you consider that you have to include prospects to get them. There are far too many equal or better options still in free agency …. Ick, I don’t like the idea of Lohse at all.

        • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

          Well, that’s just it – it wasn’t just 1 start. Throw out May (6.51), in fact, and he was really good… probably under 3.00.

          He’s had ups and downs, no doubt. 2012′s ERA+ was 133 (which got him a Qual Offer from STL and made Boras a bit too frisky). He also had a terrible 2009-2010. 2013 made 3 years in a row with solid innings and ERA performance.

          Would I commit a lot to get him? No – if you’re gonna have to spend a bunch, then go big or go home. So I expect it’s not gonna happen since Milwaukee got a great deal on him – and they still have him for 2 more years. But I do think he would be at least as good as Hudson would have been.

          • Jesus

            FIP man FIP, His last 3 years of FIP+ (which includes park and league factoring weighed in) were 4.04, 3.96 and 4.03. He’s been consistently decent (with 2012′s 3.4 WAR year being a good solid outing) BUT, he’s a year older, has 2 years left worth $22m, and can’t be expected to have a ceiling of much more than a 4 FIP+ and maybe 2 WAR. Maybe you can do that on the free agent market. But not when you have to pay him AND cough up a prospect or two of merit to get him.

          • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

            I don’t give a FIP:

            tomahawktake . com/2013/07/18/wrestling-with-fip/

            (you’ll have to reconstruct this URL… if I do it, the comment will end up in internet purgatory).

          • Jesus

            so you don’t understand it so that means you don’t like it or something? the link doesn’t work, so why don’t you just give a thumbnail sketch of why you choose to ignore the better stat over the old timey, less effective one?

          • Jesus

            and to elaborate , to show it’s not all just FIP, let’s look at WAR. In 2011 he was tied for 60th in MLB among starters with a 2.2, 2012 he was 25th with a 3.4 and 2013 he was 60th with a 1.8. which of these looks like an anomaly to you?

          • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

            For all NL pitchers 2011-2013, he’s 17th in WAR… despite the fact that fWAR for pitchers is _also_ based on FIP. Ranks better than Huddy, btw.

          • Jesus

            I thought I wrote this already, but when I checked fangraphs for 2011-13 Lohse was 44th in cumulative pitcher WAR.

          • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

            I am asking you to reconstruct the link… I cannot post it in full as a comment (remove the spaces – then cut-n-paste).

            But as I say: if you’re not a strikeout guy, FIP is gonna kill you. If you tend to give up more homers than average, FIP is gonna kill you too. It isn’t outcome based, it picks on 3 stats (HR, K, BB) vs. innings pitched. Ergo, FIP is a limited predictor.

          • Jesus

            the three stats that tend to determine success. Yes it tends to be hard on sinkerballers, but if you give up HR’s 10.8% per flyball, (which Lohse did last year )regardless of what you are doing, you not going to be a top flight starter.

          • Joseph Fain

            To Carp’s point, that is certainly true as a generalization but needs to be put into context when evaluating an individual pitcher.

          • Jesus

            It’s pretty darn true when evaluating an individual pitcher too (over a large enough sample size of course) Pitchers can’t determine where a batted ball lands. Once the ball is contacted, it’s out of their hands and rests on their defense. a Good defense can make a mediocre pitcher look good just as a bad defense can make a good pitcher look mediocre. The more you rely on the ball being in play to get outs, the more reliance you are putting on the defense rather than your own pitching ability. (which is why sinkerball pitchers tend to have up and down seasons over their careers in regards to BABIP and hits allowed)

          • Joseph Fain

            That’s a little simplistic for my tastes. The type of contact that a pitcher consistently allows has a great deal to do with the results of batted balls (particularly over a large sample size as you mention).

            And to the strikeout point, you need to also consider efficiency. You see a lot of young pitchers come up who are trying to strike every hitter out and therefore don’t make it very deep into ball games due to having to use too many pitches to get outs. Mature pitchers learn to pitch to contact and go for the strikeout when they need it (Maddux being the ultimate example). So my point is that true outcomes are not the be all end all in evaluating pitchers.

          • Jesus

            I disagree with his interpretation of FIP, because it assumes that pitchers have control of where batted balls land. a good infield defense will make a guy like Huddy look better than a lousy one. It also assumes that sinkerballers are equal to strikeout pitchers. when they simply aren’t. if they COULD strike out more guys, they would. There a few exceptions (Maddux for one) but even he struck out 6.5% per nine innings for most of his career.(and walked 1.8%). So a guy who K’s fewer guys who ALSO walks fewer guys and doesn’t give up as many homers will ALSO have a lower FIP.

          • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

            It was my interpretation, actually :).

            I just don’t think FIP is good enough to stand apart from looking at the outcomes as well, for if you don’t overpower hitters, you’ve got to learn how to get them out anyway. I do think that will leave such a pitcher with some good days and some bad – there’s indeed less room for error.

            With Lohse, there’s a strong correlation between BABIP and ERA… as you might expect (and as you hinted at). But it could be due to something like not getting enough late movement at times – the difference between hitters making solid contact or poor contact. With other pitchers (say, Kershaw), he’s wildly effective: he misses bats with overpowering stuff, despite not really having the best of control. FIP Does Not capture that for the ‘finesse’ guys.

            It’s just a different style – which some guys gotta do when they don’t throw upper-90′s. My contention is simply this: FIP isn’t a one-size-fits-all metric: and some guys will be better than that number.

            Bottom line? I don’t think we could pry away Lohse if we tried. Brew Crew will be terrible without him, and thus we can’t afford the price of admission.

  • fireboss

    Well today I agree with Jesus, this is a bad idea. Before the Dave Duncan Miracle Lohse was one of the worst starters in the game with a 4.67 ERA and a 1.465 Whip. Duncan Magic eventually wears off and I think at 35 Lohse is due for that. Even if he continues as he is, he isn;t the kind of arm we need. We have pitchers who do what Lohse does better.

    • Jesus

      ya know, if he was a free agent we could grab under $10m, I wouldn’t be so against it. But TRADING for a guy like that? ick, whole different ball game.

  • Jeff Schafer

    I’m low on Lohse but you never know what Frank Wren will open his check book up for. If he’s desperate to find a veteran pitcher, he may go after Lohse

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