The following passage on a couple of free agent pitchers is from Buster Olney’s ESPN Insider column Saturday:
[Anibal] Sanchez could get anywhere from $30 million to $60 million as a free agent, some agents and executives predict, and Kyle Lohse could get a deal in the $77.5 million range, as C.J. Wilson did last winter.
Does that read completely backwards to anyone else? I’m thinking Lohse may get anywhere from $30 million-$60 million this winter, while Sanchez could well be in that $77.5 million range.
Sanchez is going to pitch next year at 29. Lohse is 34. Here are their numbers from the last three years:
Sanchez: 3.70 ERA, 109 ERA+, 526/182 K/BB ratio in 587 IP
Lohse: 3.76 ERA, 101 ERA+, 308/115 K/BB ratio in 491 1/3 IP
Lohse was the better of the two this year, but he’s the older of the two by 5 1/2 years, his peripherals aren’t very impressive and he’ll be leaving St. Louis. The history of pitchers who had their careers turned around by Dave Duncan and then left for more money is quite bleak.
It’s possible Lohse could get the bigger deal of the two, but I really doubt it. With the way he’s pitched in the postseason, Sanchez looks like the pretty clear No. 2 free agent starter behind Zack Greinke now. Lohse, Jake Peavy and Edwin Jackson are among those trailing behind him. I’m not going to include Hiroki Kuroda anywhere in that mix, since he’s just going to want a one-year deal to pitch somewhere he’s comfortable.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.