Kyle Lohse’s market has been crushed by having draft pick compensation attached to his free agency and as recently as three weeks ago he hadn’t received a single offer despite coming off back-to-back career-years.
Lohse and Michael Bourn are the only two unsigned free agents who turned down $13.3 million qualifying offers from their original teams, but yesterday Brewers owner Mark Attanasio revealed that Milwaukee could be a landing spot for Lohse if his price tag drops low enough due to the lack of interested teams:
I think you have to look at the whole picture. We’ve given up picks before, and when we got CC [Sabathia] and we got Zack [Greinke], we gave up more than draft compensation–we gave up ready-to-go young players. This season, we’re mindful of the fact that if we do add some pieces, we may have to give up some young players. There’s always a chance. Again, it’s a function of size of contract, length of contract. Kyle had a phenomenal two seasons the last two seasons. We just have to see if that fits in our overall scheme.
Milwaukee picks 17th in the first round and to give that up in order to sign a 34-year-old pitcher is a steep price even without factoring in how much money Lohse would actually get, but Attanasio noted that guys like Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Rickie Weeks were all top-10 picks. Of course, the most recent Brewers first-round pick to make the majors was Brett Lawrie, who they got 16th overall in 2008 and traded to the Blue Jays for Shaun Marcum.
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.