Wait Till the Midnight Hour

Here at Padres Public we’ve talked a lot about the relative depth of the rotation, and the Padres rather quiet off-season.  Until Cory Luebke returns to Petco, Padre starting pitching competency will be based on some talent and a lot of grit.  Grit might have gotten David Eckstein a couple of All-Star appearances and a World Series MVP, but one can hide one’s inadequacies a little at shortstop.  On the mound one’s failings are exposed for all to see.

San Diego’s not giving away the first half of the 2013 season but it’s a fair guess we’ll see a lot of deep counts leading to starters not surviving the fifth inning and bullpen activity.  There are front-line starters available on the open market.  One such arm is Kyle Lohse, still waiting for a phone call.

I had thought that, as spring training wound down and Lohse still had no deal in place, he might become antsy and start looking for any work.  That assumes two things:  (a) that he would be willing to lower his asking price during what is probably his last free agency in which to cash in, and (b) that his agent be someone other than Scott Boras.  Well, Boras is indeed his agent, and as Ken Rosenthal reported, the asking price isn’t moving:

One team in touch on Lohse says that Boras’ asking price is 3 yrs with a “big” AAV. Boras has said he does not give teams specific numbers.

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 4, 2013

I love how Boras doesn’t give teams specific numbers.  ‘It’s going to cost a lot to sign Player X.  How much?  We’ll let you know when your offer is in the ballpark.’  It’s like playing cards with the Marx Brothers.  Would Lohse be a good fit in San Diego?  Of course.  As Ray of The Sac Bunt stated in his post, Lohse’s predicted WAR by ZiPS for 2013 places him 8th best when compared to other starters in the NL West, far and away better than the Padres current top dog, Edinson Volquez.  Lohse pitched in a favorable pitcher’s park in St Louis, and did well – over 458 innings, an ERA of 3.40 and a WHIP of 1.186.  Even with Petco’s fences moving in it’s reasonable to assume he’d have put up similar numbers here.  I’d quote his career numbers at Petco, but he’s only made 4 starts in our lovely city and thrown 24 1/3 innings; not enough to base any predictions on.

Since Lohse has held out this long, it’s a safe bet he’ll continue to wait for a team to come along and pay him what he wants, even if he doesn’t throw a meaningful pitch until May or even June.  If Josh Byrnes was hesitant to spend $13M+ on Dan Haren or Edwin Jackson – both younger pitchers – he’ll never agree to what Boras is asking for on Lohse, even if Lohse is willing to take a 3-year deal.

So Kyle Lohse will continue to sit, listening to Wilson Pickett sing, until his Midnight Hour comes.  Too bad for us.

I also produce sporadic ramblings on Twitter, which can be followed here.  I’ll be one of those on camera in the fifth inning tomorrow from Peoria.  I’m the pasty white guy.  No, the other one.

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