March 4, 2013
Patching Pitching Staffs
Late last week, we learned from ESPN’s Buster Olney that the Indians and Yankees were, for various reasons, staying on the sidelines of the Kyle Lohse market. The right-hander got better news over the weekend, though: With agent Scott Boras’ asking price reportedly growing more negotiable, a once-reluctant suitor might soon have an organizational change of heart.
Rangers keeping tabs on Lohse; price dropping?
You get the picture. And, in an American League West race that figures to be tight, with the Angels considered by PECOTA to be the pre-season favorites, those doubts could make all the difference. That’s where Lohse comes in, and the decision for general manager Jon Daniels and his staff hinges on balancing 2013 needs with the draw of funneling more talent into a high-upside/high-risk farm system.
The news that Perez had suffered a fractured forearm when he was struck by a line drive on Sunday surfaced after Wilson’s report, but general manager Jon Daniels’ comments in its wake suggested that his plan remains unchanged. Daniels told reporters “We’ll look around at external options, but I expect to go internally at this point,” adding that with Lewis and Perez both currently on track to return in early May, the search for help need not be frantic. Still, the likelihood of Lohse landing in Arlington almost certainly increased over the last 24 hours.
Wilson heard from a source that Lohse’s price tag is now low enough, in terms of both years and annual dollars, that multiple teams are reconsidering their aversion to signing the 34-year-old. The Rangers are one of those teams, and with money no longer believed to be a serious obstacle, the more salient issue surrounds the 24th overall pick in the amateur draft. As Wilson pointed out, Texas received the 31st overall selection when Josh Hamilton, also a compensated free agent, bolted for Anaheim, so inking Lohse would not entirely bounce the Rangers from the first-round party. But even with legitimate concerns surrounding the Opening Day rotation, the majority of the front office, at least as of Sunday morning, preferred to cling to pick 24.
To some extent, the logic of those higher-ups is understandable. The Rangers, as shown in the prospect list linked above, have leaned heavily on international splurges, like Jorge Alfaro and Jairo Beras, and prep-school athletes with star-level potential but volatile outcomes, like Joey Gallo and Lewis Brinson. That strategy can pay significant dividends, but quantity and financial flexibility are important elements of it. From that standpoint, losing the first-round spot would cost Daniels and his scouting staff not only the opportunity to add one more lottery ticket, but also a chunk of the bonus pool from which they could draw to shoot high in later rounds.