Kyle Lohse turned down a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals last November in hopes that he would find a lucrative multi-year deal in free agency. And after posting a 3.11 ERA from 2011-2012, there was every reason to think that someone would bite, even with the draft pick compensation attached. However, with Opening Day just a week and a half away, the 34-year-old right-hander is still out there waiting for the right offer to come along. And his asking price has gone down.
While Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports hears that Lohse was still asking for a three-year, $45 million deal one week into spring training, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that he’s now hoping to at least match the two-year, $26.5 million deal Ryan Dempster signed with the Red Sox over the winter. That’s a pretty steep drop from what many expected he would get at the start of free agency, but it remains to be seen whether anyone thinks a two-year deal is worth surrendering a draft pick.
The Rangers and Brewers remain in contact with Lohse, but Rosenthal hears that the Rockies have also done their “due diligence.” It’s worth noting that Colorado’s first-round pick is protected by virtue of their 64-98 record last year, but they are already stretched budget-wise and Rosenthal was told that it would only happen “if by a very, very remote chance he just flat-out doesn’t have anything.” Lohse may also be reluctant to sign with the Rockies since Coors Field is by far the toughest ballpark in the majors to pitch in. The wait continues.
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.
Orioles’ center fielder Michael Bourn is expected to be sidelined for four weeks while he rehabs a broken ring finger on his right hand, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. Bourn broke the finger while playing catch with a football after a spring training workout.
The veteran outfielder re-signed with the club earlier this week on a minor league deal and was prepared to compete for a bench role this season. He’s in line to receive a $2 million salary if he makes the major league roster and can make an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on a set number of plate appearances. Now, however, his chances of cracking the roster out of spring training look considerably diminished, as his current timetable gives him an approximate return date of March 25 if all goes well.
Bourn had an impressive, if short-lived run with the Orioles following his trade to Baltimore last August, batting .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and a .793 OPS in 55 PA. While still somewhat removed from the totals that brought him an All-Star nod with the Braves in 2012, his defensive chops should give the Orioles some depth in center once he’s healthy again.