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.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.